medication-assisted treatment | KUNC

medication-assisted treatment

Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

When a person struggling with addiction steps into Front Range Clinic's Mobile Health Unit, Tonja Jimenez greets them with a warm smile.

"They check in right here, this is our check-in desk," she pointed out. "This is our waiting area."

Ashley and Aiden
Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

It's about 7 o'clock on a Tuesday morning in June and Ashley McAuliffe is getting her 11-year-old son, Aiden, ready for his last day of school.

"We've got about like 10 minutes before we're going to go. So why don't you brush your teeth," McAuliffe suggests.

"Okay," replies Aiden.

"Thanks," she says.

Growing up in Steamboat Springs, McAuliffe started ski racing when she was a kid. This eventually led to freestyle snowboarding, competing in the halfpipe and multiple injuries.

"Broken ankles, broken wrist, broken ribs, dislocations," she said. "So, I was put on prescription painkillers pretty much at age 16 to 18."

U.S. Department of Agriculture

The Colorado Office of Behavioral Health received a federal grant in April 2017 to address the state's growing opioid crisis. That year, 560 Coloradans died from opioid overdoses. KUNC's Stephanie Daniel spoke to director Robert Werthwein, director of the state agency, about their addiction, prevention and treatment efforts.

Stephanie Daniel / KUNC

Physician Morgan Hungenburg is in the second year of her medical residency program. Since August she's been training in family medicine at Salud Family Health Center in Fort Morgan.

"I really like the continuity of family medicine," Hungenburg said. "We call it 'womb to tomb.' I like that wide age range because I like pediatrics, but I also like geriatrics. I kind of get a little bit of everything."

Charles Williams / Flickr

Of the six opioid bills introduced to the state legislature this session, five passed and are on Gov. John Hickenlooper's desk. A bi-partisan group of state lawmakers drafted the bills last November to address Colorado's growing opioid epidemic. The bills look at the issue from many sides, including increasing access to behavioral health care providers and medication-assisted treatment, limiting pain pill prescriptions limits and changing how insurance and Medicaid handle opioid dependence medications.