The Problem

Laws & Policies

SB 13-014 – Colorado’s Third-Party Naloxone Bill

Naloxone, also known by its brand-name of Narcan, is a synthetic drug that reverses the effects of a prescription painkiller overdose. If administered in time, naloxone can save the life of an individual who has overdosed. Hospitals and first responders have used it for decades. But naloxone is only available by prescription and requires little training – it can be administered by someone who witnesses an overdose. Naloxone can be sprayed into the nose or injected into a muscle with a syringe. SB 13-014 provides protection from criminal charges for medical professionals who prescribe naloxone to third parties, and for non-medical people who witness an overdose and administer the drug. It protects healthcare professionals who administer naloxone in an overdose emergency from charges.1

Laws & Policies

Learn more about naloxone and what to do in the event of an overdose.

SB 12-020 – Colorado’s Good Samaritan Law

Drug overdose deaths are preventable. Many occur because victims don’t get timely help. The fear of punishment – arrest and prosecution – often deters overdose witnesses from calling for help. Colorado implemented the “Good Samaritan Law” in 2012 to encourage witnesses to call for medical help during emergency overdose situations. The law provides limited legal protection from drug charges for those who call 911 for help. It also protects persons suffering an opiate overdose – rather than being arrested or prosecuted, they are referred to the proper treatment programs.2,3

Laws & Policies

Can I administer the Rx antidote naloxone?

ANSWER: In the case of an overdose, yes.
Laws & Policies

Will I face prosecution if I’ve been illegally using drugs and I call 911 during an overdose emergency?


HB 14-1283 – Modifying the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program

In 2014, HB 14-1283 made several improvements to the electronic Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP) in order to curb such tactics as “Doctor Shopping” (seeking prescriptions for painkillers from multiple doctors) that lead to abuse and overdoses. The PDMP is maintained by the Department of Regulatory Agencies (DORA), which licenses medical professions such as physicians and pharmacists. The bill requires anyone in Colorado who writes prescriptions to register and create user accounts with the program. All deadlines to register were in the second half of 2014. The bill also …

  • Allows PDMP-registered prescribing practitioners to delegate access on their behalf.
  • Allows the PDMP to send unsolicited reports (a.k.a. Push Notices) to affected prescribing  practitioners and pharmacies.
  • As with out-of-state prescribing practitioners in the past, it now allows out-of-state pharmacists to obtain patient information from the Colorado PDMP.
  • Allows all federally owned and operated pharmacies to submit controlled substance dispensing data to the CO PDMP.
  • Provides CDPHE access to the PDMP for public health purposes.4

HB 14-1207 – CDPHE Household Medication Take-Back Program

HB 14-1207, signed into law in 2014, requires the executive director of the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment to establish a household medication take-back program to collect and dispose of unused medications at approved collection sites.5 The law aims to reduce abuse and unsafe use and provide environmental protection by ensuring that the unused medicine is properly disposed. Find a take-back location near you, and learn more about the Safe Disposal and Safe Use of your medicine.