We’re dealing with a pandemic, but remember the opioid crisis? Coronavirus is likely to make it worse.

Colorado slashed millions of dollars that would have helped prevent and treat opioid addiction. And the opioid epidemic is expected to get a coronavirus aftershock.

Needles from heroin-users are collected in bins at the Harm Reduction Action Center. The center counts more than 900 lives saved by training clients to use naloxone, the antidote to an opioid overdose. (Marvin Anani, Special to The Colorado Sun)

The coronavirus pandemic overshadowed a long list of other problems that suddenly seemed less urgent in the wake of a deadly virus and its economic destruction.

Included at the top of that list: the opioid epidemic. That crisis is still raging in Colorado and predicted to get even worse thanks to the stress, isolation and financial devastation of the coronavirus.

Medical professionals, therapists and others are expecting a “wave,” or an aftershock, of substance abuse and overdose deaths because of the pandemic. And if it comes, Colorado will have fewer resources to handle it.

That’s because Colorado stripped at least $26 million for substance-abuse prevention, awareness and treatment from next year’s state budget …

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