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Pitkin County Press Releases

Posted on: March 9, 2018

Opioid Crisis the Topic of Upcoming Regional Meeting in Roaring Fork Valley


Experts on the opioid crisis in Colorado share their expertise with public health and human services leaders in Pitkin, Eagle and Garfield Counties at their regional POD/Human Services Commission meeting next week.  

Joining the panel of experts is JK Costello, Senior Consultant with Steadman Group, LLC who is best known for his development of population-wide treatment and prevention models in behavioral health and substance use disorders. Other panel members include Kathy Capps, Regional Director of Mind Springs Health, Janelle Duhon, Program Director for Recovery Resources, LLC. and Lou Vallario, Garfield County Sheriff. 

“We are very fortunate to have this esteemed panel meet with local public health and human services leaders in our community who are often on the front lines of dealing with substance use issues,” said Pitkin County Public Health Director, Karen Koenemann. 

According to the Colorado Department of Public Health, nationally and in Colorado, opioid use disorders have emerged as a significant public health concern. Nearly 224,000 Coloradans misuse prescription drugs each year. In nearly every year for the last 15 years, Colorado’s drug overdose rate was significantly higher than the national rate and opioid-related overdoses represent a large portion of those deaths. In Colorado, prescription opioid-related overdoses have quadrupled since 2000.

“While Pitkin County ranks low statewide and across the country for opioid-related risk factors, our community has double the statewide average of the number of people who are being prescribed long-duration opioids, said Koenmann. “We know that the longer a patient uses opioids the greater their chance of addiction and that’s something we need to keep a close eye on here.”

The POD meeting is set for Wednesday, March 14th from 9 to Noon at the El Jebel Community Center. 

A public panel discussion on the opioid crisis, to include the entire community, is in the planning stages and will be announced later in the year. 

Contact: Karen Koenemann, Director of Public Health - 970-429-6171

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