Care, not cuffs, for substance use | OPINION
February 9, 2023
By: Vincent Atchity
It’s no secret there is a significant and growing mental health and substance use crisis in Colorado. Though some are working to address this crisis, there remain entrenched systems, policies and attitudes that harm rather than help the most vulnerable in our communities. Coloradans of all ages experience grievous harm and die prematurely in association not only with their use of alcohol, opioids and other legal and illegal substances, but with the way our community’s systems respond to them and fail to reduce the terrible harms they cause.
In order to make real, meaningful change, we need to radically reassess the ways we live with the substances in our world and with the people who use them. We must reorient our efforts and resources toward helping Coloradans with protective education that is fact-based, risk-mitigating and has access to care complete with compassion and cultural competency.