Who is the Colorado Criminal Justice Reform Coalition?

Our mission is to reverse the trend of mass incarceration in Colorado. We are a coalition of nearly 7,000 individual members and over 100 faith and community organizations who have united to stop perpetual prison expansion in Colorado through policy and sentence reform.

Our chief areas of interest include drug policy reform, women in prison, racial injustice, the impact of incarceration on children and families, the problems associated with re-entry and stopping the practice of using private prisons in our state.

If you would like to be involved please go to our website and become a member.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Combined Abuse of pain pills, anxiety drugs soars across the US

The Denver Post

Addictions with the double-whammy of pain pill abuse and anti-anxiety overuse are soaring throughout the U.S., according to a new report from the federal substance abuse agency [1].

Combined use of opiate painkillers and the kind of anti-anxiety, insomnia drugs called benzodiazepine are especially dangerous. The cocktail of bodily depressants can sharply reduce breathing and heart rate, to a factor the user isn’t prepared for.
The federal substance abuse agency SAMHSA said treatment center admissions for addiction to combined opiates and “benzos’ rose nearly six-fold from 2000 to 2010, to nearly 34,000 people. The number of admissions in the “all other” categories rose less than 10 percent over the same period, according to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration.
In addition to the dangers for ongoing users, withdrawal from each substance is a great public health danger, agency officials said. Trying to withdraw safely from both at once is a tremendous physical and mental challenge.
The statistics add to a drumbeat of worries over growing misuse of narcotic [3], opiate-based painkillers. We have written about various state and federal efforts to educate doctors on prescription practices, make better use of a database of all painkiller prescriptions, and to spread availability of the overdose-reversing drug naloxone. Some physician groups are making an education push; whether anything translates to new policies in Colorado is still up in the air.

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