Steamboat hosts addiction seminar for the public and medical providers

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The second annual Substance Use Prevention and Recovery seminar comes to Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs this weekend. Events will cover recent developments in addiction treatment and resources available to those suffering from substance abuse.
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STEAMBOAT SPRINGS — Steamboat Springs will host the second annual Substance Use Prevention and Recovery seminar Friday through Sunday at Colorado Mountain College Steamboat Springs.

The event aims to educate medical providers and community members about new developments to help people avoid and recover from addiction.

It comes amid a growing opioid crisis and rising overdose rates across the U.S., including in Routt County — where the rate of overdose deaths increased six-fold from 2014 to 2016. 

Among the presenters are Michael O’Hara, chief district judge of the 14th Judicial District, and Steamboat Springs Police Chief Cory Christensen. Addiction survivors will also share their recovery stories alongside medical professionals, who will discuss treatment programs that helped make sobriety possible. 

The seminar kicked off in Moffat County on Thursday, featuring a testimony from a recovering methamphetamine addict and Steamboat resident Melinda McDowell. 

McDowell is among more than 95 patients who have benefitted from a Routt County pilot program, which uses medication to treat people with substance use addiction. After more than a year of sobriety, McDowell has become a poster child for the medication-assisted treatment program. 

“I want to be an inspiration for other people and let them know that recovery is possible and life is possible,” she said before the seminar.

Gov. Polis expanded the pilot program to other counties in Colorado after the local program, implemented through Road to Recovery, reported a 90% recovery rate among patients. 

Events on Friday and Saturday will begin at 8:30 a.m. with presentations in the Allbright Auditorium on the CMC campus, followed by hour-long discussions on specific topics, ranging from the opioid crisis to substance abuse among youth.

One discussion, scheduled for 11 a.m. Saturday, will discuss a recent medication to prevent HIV infections, which disproportionately affect drug users. The medication serves as a pre-exposure prophylaxis — known colloquially as PrEP — that reduces the chance someone contracts HIV, even if they are exposed to it. 

Organizers will provide buffet lunches on Friday and Saturday, as well as dinners alongside additional presentations. 

Attendees need to purchase tickets for the seminar, which are available online.

Students studying nursing and medicine may also receive education credit hours for attending the seminar. 

A complete schedule of events is available on the event’s website.

To reach Derek Maiolo, call 970-871-4247, email or follow him on Twitter @derek_maiolo.

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