Grand Futures: Local agencies collaborate to educate about prevention, treatment and recovery for substance use disorders |

Grand Futures: Local agencies collaborate to educate about prevention, treatment and recovery for substance use disorders

Sarah Valentino For Craig Press

The Substance Use Prevention And Recovery (SUPAR) Seminar returns to northwest Colorado for a third year, albeit different in both size and delivery due to COVID-19. SUPAR “short” will be held virtually on Friday, October 30th at 9am. The originally planned weekend event was cancelled this past spring amidst the global pandemic. This fall, the planning committee is offering the shortened, virtual format free to all participants.  

The event is one of many local efforts to bring different community sectors together for education over one of the most persistent public health concerns our region has faced: substance use disorder. SUPAR is supported by a Rural Communities Opioid Response Program (RCORP) implementation grant from the Health Resources & Services Administration, received by Memorial Regional Health.

Twenty-two organizations have joined this effort to address substance use disorder across Moffat, Routt, Rio Blanco, and Jackson Counties; in addition to supporting cross-sector education, the grant also supports resources for prevention, treatment, and recovery. This includes distribution of Naloxone (opioid overdose reversal medication), investment in sober and transitional housing, and telehealth expansion across the region.

“Part of addressing the opioid epidemic is education,” says RCORP partner Lindsey Simbeye of the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention. “It is not enough to just educate doctors, or treatment providers, or law enforcement officers [in isolation]. We really need to reach multiple different audiences, including the public, and bring everyone together to do this work in collaboration.”

This year’s SUPAR “short” will include three presentations and one panel:

  • 9am: Opioid Epidemic Overview & Impact of COVID-19 Presented by Dr. Robert Valuck, Director of the Center for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention at the University of Colorado
  • 10am: Trauma-Integrated Addiction Treatment Presented by Dr. Mike Barnes, Chief Clinical Officer at the Foundry Treatment Center
  • 11am: Medication-Assisted Treatment Best Practices & Mobile Health Services Presented by Donna Goldstrom and Dr. Jeremy Dubin, Clinical Medical Directors for Front Range Clinic (recently merged with Steamboat Springs’ Road to Recovery)
  • 12pm: Substance Use Disorder in the Criminal Justice System Panel with Matt Karzen, District Attorney, Craig Thornhill, Licensed Addiction Counselor working with local jail populations, James McLaughlin, Director of Paramedicine at Ute Pass Regional Health Service District, Valerie Resendez, Diversion Program Manager at Colorado’s Office of Behavioral Health, and Emily Richardson, Manager of Co-responder Services also at Colorado’s Office of Behavioral Health. Moderated by JK Costello, Senior Behavioral Health Consultant with the Steadman Group

SUPAR is planned with behavioral health professionals, medical providers, and social service providers in mind, but the general public is welcomed- and encouraged- to join.

Simbeye continues, “It was a crisis before COVID and because of COVID, it’s getting worse. When we do this work in silos, we lose the opportunity to pool resources and have a more significant impact in combatting substance use disorder and making a difference in people’s lives. Regardless of the industry you work in, or your position in life, you have a role in addressing this crisis.”

To learn more and register, visit

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