John - Rio Grande County

John - Rio Grande County

“I’ve suffered the sting of [the opioid drug epidemic] first hand. I’ve had students and former students who have overdosed. I will never forget the pain in [a] father’s eyes as he told me about walking into his son’s bedroom and seeing the needle hanging out of his arm. His son ended up passing away. Stories like that are more common in the San Luis Valley than they should be.

— John, Rio Grande County

John is a teacher in the San Luis Valley, and his poignant story speaks to the urgency of addressing the opioid epidemic. “A lot of our youth in this community don’t feel like there’s opportunity, and some feel like they can’t get out so that once the drug cycle and criminal justice cycle starts to take effect, it’s a downward spiral,” John explained. When I visited Alamosa, I toured the county jail, where 92% of inmates are drug users and the jail is at 200% capacity. Sheriff Robert Jackson wants to help, but his area lacks accessible treatment options. This issue is as broad-reaching and devastating as it is heartbreaking. We have a responsibility to our state, our fellow citizens, and our next generation to do better.

As Attorney General, I will tackle the opioid crisis by treating it as a public health issue, working with healthcare providers, law enforcement, and local governments to develop treatment options in the San Luis Valley and across the state. Furthermore, I will work with leaders in the San Luis Valley to ensure economic opportunity. One’s zip code should not predispose them to lack of opportunity or drug use, and part of turning Colorado into a national leader is ensuring that every community in our state — rural or urban — has access to education, healthcare, and economic opportunity. As the People’s Lawyer, I will work tirelessly on behalf of the San Luis Valley and other parts of our state.