Colorado Opioid Abatement Council approves $1.9 million in infrastructure grants to organizations combating the opioid crisis in Colorado
March 13, 2023 (DENVER) – The Colorado Opioid Abatement Council (COAC) today approved over $1.9 million in infrastructure grants for six organizations throughout Colorado working to combat the opioid crisis. These grants are the first to be awarded from the statewide infrastructure share, which is 10% of the funds received from settlements reached by the Colorado Attorney General’s Office with opioid manufacturers and distributors.
“These grant awards will help our state address the opioid crisis by providing services in prevention, harm reduction, criminal justice, and treatment. In particular, these grants will provide much needed support to those affected by the opioid crisis in our rural and underserved communities as well as spur innovative strategies for addressing this crisis,” said Attorney General Phil Weiser, chair of the COAC. “I was pleased to see such excellent applicants from across Colorado designed to meet the challenge presented by the opioid crisis.”
The infrastructure grant opportunities are intended to promote capital improvements and provide operational assistance for developing or improving the infrastructure necessary to combat Colorado’s opioid crisis, particularly in underserved areas that are hard-hit by this crisis. As part of this granting process, the COAC accepted applications from state agencies, local governments, regional opioid abatement councils, or a combination thereof. The criteria for these grants were set forth in requirements outlined in a statewide agreement. In addition, these funds are intended to encourage cross-regional collaboration between the 19 opioid regional councils.
“It’s my sincere hope that these infrastructure grant awards will help local communities by increasing access to crucial prevention, harm reduction, and treatment services,” said Dr. Josh Blum, member of the COAC and director of outpatient substance use disorder treatment at Denver Health. “I’m especially gratified that we are awarding these funds across geographically diverse communities, serving urban, suburban, and rural populations hard-hit by the opioid crisis, and that these funds will fill in gaps for capital improvements not often covered by other grant opportunities.”
At its meeting today, the council approved awards for the following programs:
- Region 18, SLV Recovery LLC, and Roofers in Recovery/Hope in the Valley: $199,650 – The funds will assist SLV Recovery with the infrastructure needs for the first CARR recovery housing in the San Luis Valley, and Roofers in Recovery/Hope in the Valley to open the area’s first public residential treatment facility.
- Arapahoe County and Arapahoe County Public Health (Region 9): $344,723 – Arapahoe County Public Health Harm Reduction, through the Mobile Outreach program, will expand access to low-threshold, low-barrier addiction, and harm reduction services for people at highest risk of near-term death from opioid use disorder, particularly in remote parts of the county and adjacent communities. The program includes a mobile unit and a team of harm reduction outreach specialists that will be sent to areas with high rates of opioid use and overdose to engage individuals, provide culturally relevant harm reduction services, and link those with opioid use disorder to comprehensive community-based care.
- Fremont County and the Fremont County Boys and Girls Club (Region 15): $500,000 – The grant will help the club fund the purchase and expansion of the building where it currently houses its programs. After-school programs provide safe, constructive, and positive spaces during the hours of 3-6 p.m. when children are more likely to engage in risky behaviors including substance experimentation and abuse. Fremont County is a rural area and is in the top 10 Colorado counties with the highest opioid-related death rate per capita.
- Town of Buena Vista and the Boys and Girls Club of Chaffee County (Region 15): $500,000 – The club plans to construct a facility to support the delivery of prevention-based programming to local youth. With a growing membership exceeding 320 kids per year and daily attendance regularly exceeding 100, the need for a new, permanent Buena Vista Boys & Girls Club facility is critical.
- Douglas County and Valley Hope Association (Region 12): $250,000 – The grant will go to supporting the Building Hope Parker Project expansion to increase capacity for care and treatment from 800-1,100 patients annually. This proposal exhibits regionalism in that Hope Valley works closely with most major hospitals and maintains strong relationships with other treatment centers and sober living homes across Colorado’s 64 counties. Building Hope Parker will provide substance use disorder services to people around the state, including those in rural and underserved areas.
- Thornton Police Department (Region 8): $130,000 – The Thornton Police Department intends to establish a Naloxone Plus Program, allowing the city to hire a coordinator to follow up on overdose cases, bringing in an array of service providers to assist in long term recovery and rebuilding the whole person.
The COAC will oversee two funding cycles for the infrastructure share each year. This year, the COAC is planning to award up to another $3.2 million in grants from the infrastructure share in the second cycle. Applications for those infrastructure fund grants will open in May and the COAC expects to notify awardees in August. Any state agency, participating local government, or regional opioid abatement council can apply. In addition, the COAC encourages applicants to collaborate with local nonprofits or any community entity that is working to combat the opioid crisis.
The COAC was created by the Colorado Department of Law in agreement with local governments to provide oversight of the opioid settlement funds and to ensure the distribution of those funds complies with the terms of any settlement and the Colorado Opioid Settlement Memorandum of Understanding. The COAC appointed the department to provide administrative support and administer the opioid settlement funds on their behalf.
For more information about the council and future granting opportunities, go to coag.gov/opioids. To view more information about the state regions, please visit the Colorado opioid settlement funds framework dashboard.