DENVER — With only a few weeks to go in session, conference committee members are working through the state budget proposal sitting at $26.8 billion. Substance abuse is an area seeing millions of dollars in proposed funding.
The amendment would allocate an additional $8 million to the already $6 million in support for substance abuse treatment programs. The $14 million total would come from the Marijuana Tax Cash Fund.
Lawmakers shared the results in the needs assessment for the state of Colorado. They said while each region of the state has some unique issues and priorities, the following are common themes in the identified priorities for funding:
* Expanding Detox/Withdrawal Management Services: While the need is greater in rural areas, most of the state lacks adequate detox services for both social and medical detoxification. Law enforcement, hospitals, and other stakeholders point to the need for safe detox facilities that can decrease unnecessary incarceration and limit overuse of the emergency room and hospitals.
* Sustaining and Expanding Residential Treatment Services: Residential service offerings are severely lacking. There are existing programs that do not have adequate funding to open all their available beds. The average length of stay is 15-90 days, with costs between $275 to $350 per day to operate.
* Sustainable and Geographically Accessible Rural Outpatient Services: Outpatient services save lives, reduce ER and other medical costs, and return individuals to productive work. Outpatient clinics struggle to remain financially sustainable and find enough qualified professionals to provide the full range of needed services. Outpatient services also need to offer flexible hours and be located throughout the state.
* Opioid Crisis Targeted Services: Some communities have been hit harder by the opioid crisis. They have prioritized targeted programming for opioid addiction and response.
* Care Coordination: Clients in need of treatment services often fail to get connected to the right services at the right time or fail to transition from one type of service to another level of care. Care coordination services can reduce relapse and save money.