Substance Use Prevention

If you or someone you know needs immediate support, please reach out to Colorado Crisis Services at 1.844.493.TALK (8255) to speak to a trained professional or text TALK to 38255 to access a live chat available in 17 languages. Help and hope are available 24/7/365. You may also visit one of their Denver metro area walk-in locations. In the event of an overdose emergency, dial 911.       

Adams County Health Department (ACHD) engages with community partners to prevent overdose deaths, increase awareness and education about factors leading to preventable deaths, and increase engagement and responsiveness. ACHD strives for a mentally healthy, overdose-free Adams County, where people have hope for their future, a sense of purpose and meaning in their lives, and feel they belong in their families, communities, and culture. Our efforts are guided by the ACHD Substance Use Data Dashboard and Tri-County Overdose Prevention Partnership Strategic Framework which was developed with input from many Adams County partners. Read on to learn more about substance use prevention in Adams County and the resources available to help you and your community thrive.

Substance Misuse

Excessive use or misuse of substances impacts individuals, families, and entire communities. Substance use disorders (SUDs) affect millions of Americans. In 2021, 46.3 million people aged 12 or older had an SUD in the past year, including 29.5 million who had an alcohol use disorder and 24.0 million who had a drug use disorder, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health.    

Substance use disorders, including opioid use disorder and alcohol use disorder, are chronic, reoccurring, and relapsing diseases. There are multiple underlying causes and environmental factors that impact the likelihood of developing a substance use disorder as well as its severity and its potential to be fatal.    

Access to substances, as well as family, peer, and societal attitudes towards substances, greatly impact use, especially among young people. Substance use also shares many of the same risk factors1 and protective factors2 as community violence and suicidality.      

People who have a substance use disorder should not be blamed for suffering from the disease. All people make choices about whether to use substances. However, people do not choose how their brain and body respond to substances. Treatment is available, recovery is possible, and millions of people seek treatment and live healthy, positive lives in recovery. 

1 Risk factors are those that make a person more likely to engage in risky behaviors.       
2 Protective Factors are those that make a person less likely to engage in risky behaviors. 

Resource Hub

Colorado Crisis Services       
If you or someone you know is in need of immediate support, please reach out to Colorado Crisis Services at 1.844.493.TALK (8255) to speak to a trained professional or text TALK to 38255 to access a live chat available in 17 languages. Help and hope are available 24/7/365. You may also visit one of their Denver metro area walk-in locations. In the event of an overdose emergency, dial 911. 

National Helpline (Treatment Referral Routing Service)      
SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1.800.662.HELP (4357) (also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service), or TTY: 1.800.487.4889 is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations.

Adams County Community Mental Health Centers 

Aurora Mental Health and Recovery       
Aurora Mental Health & Recovery offers a variety of specialized services to meet the needs of our diverse community. To reach someone immediately to learn more about services or get support, call 303.923.6500. Walk-in services are available 24/7. Visit any day of the week at 2206 Victor St. Aurora, CO 80045.   

Community Reach Center        
Community Reach Center provides mental health services and counseling in seven outpatient offices. To make an appointment or for more information on mental health services in Brighton, Commerce City, Northglenn, Thornton, Westminster and surrounding areas of Denver and Adams County, please call 303.853.3500

Colorado and National Resources 

OwnPath is a searchable online directory for people in Colorado to find licensed behavioral health providers and to search for specific services or use a guided search to identify providers or resources that best meet their needs. Searches can be narrowed by criteria such as location, days of operation, language support, payment types accepted, and more. 

CO Wellness Recovery       
CO Wellness Recovery is a free mental wellness and addiction recovery guide resource for Coloradans considering recovery. 

Colorado LADDERS       
Colorado Behavioral Health Administration (BHA) offers this referral resource for information and services for prevention, treatment and recovery from substance use and mental health conditions. 

SAMHSA Behavioral Health Treatment Services Locator is a confidential and anonymous resource for persons seeking treatment for mental and substance use disorders in the United States and its territories. 

Lift The Label       
Learn more about treatment resources, watch and read stories of Coloradans, and learn how to support a loved one.  

Tough as a Mother       
Tough as a Mother is a resource to help connect Colorado mothers with dependent children to substance use treatment providers in their communities. BEING A MOM IS TOUGH–BUT SO ARE YOU. If you are using alcohol, marijuana and/or other drugs to cope with stress or trauma, you are not alone. Support is available so you can be the strongest mom possible. Find support near you. 

Other Community Services

In addition to our health care partners, there are many other excellent services available throughout Adams County and the state of Colorado. Please explore the below information to learn more.      
Search and connect to support. Financial assistance, food pantries, medical care, and other free or reduced-cost help starts here.  

2-1-1 Colorado      
2-1-1 Colorado connects families and individuals to social and community resources best suited to meet their needs. 

Watch for these signs in yourself and others to detect the signs of misuse or abuse. If you suspect you or a loved one may be at risk for addiction, please refer to the treatment resources above for help. 

  • Taking painkillers more often, even when not experiencing much discomfort 
  • Spending more and more time obtaining prescriptions 
  • Cash, valuables, or medicine missing from home 
  • Mood and personality changes, becoming defensive 
  • Excessive drowsiness and lack of appetite 
  • Withdrawal from friends, family, or social activities 
  • Neglecting responsibilities 
  • Increasingly sensitive to normal sights, sounds, or emotions 
  • Blackouts and forgetfulness  

Safe Use

Careful use of your medication ensures that your prescriptions are benefiting you as intended and reduces risk to yourself, family, and friends.  

Always take prescription drugs as prescribed by your physician. Know the dangers associated with mixing drugs and alcohol and how to prevent accidental overdose.

Effective patient-provided communication can help you understand the risks and benefits of prescription opioid medications. If you are concerned that you may be at risk for opioid dependency, conversations with your doctor may be difficult but potentially lifesaving. Use these tips from the National Safety Council to prepare for conversations with your doctor. 

Safe Storage 

Once prescription medicines enter your home, follow these tips from Take Meds Seriously on safe storage to help protect yourself and your loved ones from the dangers of misuse.

Lock it up 

Keep prescriptions in a drawer or cabinet that can be locked or in a a lock box that is out of sight. Medication lock boxes or combination locks may be purchased online or at many local pharmacies.  

Monitor Your Medicine 

Keep a list of all medications in the house and track how much you've used and how much remains. This method will allow you to immediately recognize if medication is missing.  

Store as Directed 

Prescription medications normally require storage in a cool, dry place or may need to be refrigerated. You can always consult your pharmacist if you are unsure. Please note, kitchens and bathrooms can become hot and humid, making them an improper storage site.     
Always use the original container the medicine came in. Make sure the label remains attached and all child-resistant caps are secured. Do not combine medications in a single bottle. For more storage tips and information visit Take Meds Seriously

Safe Disposal 

Any unused or expired medications should be properly disposed of as soon as possible to reduce the risk of misuse. Safe disposal of medications keeps them from being misused or abused by friends or family. It also helps protect our environment, our wildlife, and our water. To learn more about safe disposal and or how to protect our environment, visit Take Meds Seriously

Permanent Collection Boxes 

Colorado has a state-funded medication take back program that provides permanent collection locations. Find a permanent medication take back location here. All locations can accept prescribed controlled substances along with other prescribed and over the counter medications. All locations can accept prescribed controlled substances along with other prescribed and over the counter medications.  

Local Take Back Events 

Every year, more than 100 Colorado law enforcement agencies participate in the Drug Enforcement Administration's national household medication take back days. Be on the lookout for these events or contact your local law enforcement agency to learn about upcoming events in your community. 

Home Disposal 

When you cannot access a take back location, do not flush your medications or give them to family or friends to dispose for you. Instead, follow the steps below to safely dispose of your medications in your household trash: 

  1. Remove from the original container. Remove the label or cross out any identifying information on the bottle or packaging. 
  2. Mix with something that cannot be eaten like kitty litter, coffee grounds, home cleaner, etc.
  3. Place the mixture in a sealable bag, empty can with lid, or other durable container that prevents leakage. 
  4. Wrap the container in a newspaper or a plain brown bag to conceal its contents.  
  5. Place it in your trash the day your trash is collected.  

Safe Needle Disposal 

It is also important to dispose of needles properly. They should never be thrown loosely into the trash or a toilet. Use this interactive map to find a needle disposal location near you.  


Naloxone (also known as Narcan®) is a prescription medicine that reverses an opioid overdose. If administered in time, naloxone can save the life of an individual suffering from an overdose. Naloxone is safe and effective and can easily be obtained to protect yourself or a loved one.  

Where can I find Naloxone? 

Over 200 pharmacies in Colorado carry naloxone and it can be made available to you by prescription. Ask your pharmacist about naloxone or click on the map provided by Stop the Clock Colorado to find a pharmacy near you that has standing orders to dispense naloxone. 

How do I administer Naloxone?

Be sure to read the directions on any naloxone prescription you receive and ask your pharmacist for clarification if needed. With all forms of naloxone, it is important to be mindful of the expiration date. Naloxone may be prescribed as either a nasal spray or muscle injection.    
Learn more about how to use naloxone at Bring Naloxone Home.  

Adams County Harm Reduction Program 

The Adams County Harm Reduction Program was created using an evidence-based approach that aims to reduce health and social harms associated with substance use. We provide a safe, non-judgmental place to exchange used syringes for sterile injection equipment. We want to empower participants to maintain and improve their own health while also preventing opioid overdose and HIV/Hepatitis C transmission within Adams County.

Adams County Syringe Access Services 

The Adams County Syringe Access Services Program provides services in a safe, non-judgmental setting that welcomes, affirms, and accepts everyone regardless of their current drug use practices. The program provides services within the context of harm reduction principles and guidelines, as outlined by the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE). We provide harm reduction supplies (sterile supplies for injecting, smoking, snorting drugs, and overdose prevention materials), education, and resources to people who use drugs in Adams County.

Colorado's Good Samaritan Law 

Drug overdose deaths are preventable if victims receive timely help. However, the fear of punishment often deters witnesses from calling for help. In 2012, Colorado implemented Senate Bill 12-020 "The Good Samaritan Law" to encourage witnesses to call for medical help during emergency overdose situations. The law provides limited legal protection from drug charges for those who call 911 for help. It also protects persons suffering an opioid overdose; rather than being arrested or prosecuted, they are referred to the proper treatment programs. For more information on harm reduction, visit the Harm Reduction Action Center

Contact Us to Join our Community Effort to Support Behavioral Health 

Adams County Health Department’s Behavioral Health staff are available to support community needs by sharing resources, making data accessible, and collaborating to develop community-led solutions.  We encourage you to review our substance use resource hub and reach out with any questions, concerns and/or feedback.  Please contact us at [email protected].