Town hall focuses on ongoing heroin crisis in Pueblo County

PUEBLO, Colo. — Several dozen people – including state lawmakers and community leaders – gathered Saturday to discuss the ongoing heroin crisis in Pueblo County.

State Senator Leroy Garcia hosted a town hall on the opioid epidemic and what’s being done to combat it.

A handful of local leaders joined the discussion, including Pueblo County Sheriff Kirk Taylor.

It was a chance for citizens to listen and ask questions about how the community is responding to the heroin issue plaguing the area.

“It’s been intriguing to me to see how we’ve developed as a community and I’ve had a lot of friends that have suffered from addiction,” said attendee Kathleen of Pueblo. “I suffered from addiction when I was younger and so I just wanted to see where we’re going and what’s available as far as treatment plans go.”

Senator Garcia, who has been a paramedic for 15 years, also explained a new bill he’s proposing to the Senate.

It focuses on creating a medical treatment pilot program in Pueblo which would increase rural providers by giving nurse practitioners and physicians assistants the training to provide medical treatment.

“In Pueblo County we only have two or three providers. In Routt County, one of the ones we’re using in this pilot project, [they have] one and so it’s really hard to say, ‘Well let’s provide a treatment’ if you don’t have any practitioners who can provide that treatment and currently under the state law, that’s primarily done through physicians,” Senator Garcia said. “It’s not that nurse practitioners or physicians assistants couldn’t do it, it’s that they lack the training and the ability to get that done.”

Senator Garcia says it’s conversations like this that have to continue to get this heroin issue resolved.


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