Colorado attorney general swings through Summit County |

Colorado attorney general swings through Summit County

Colorado Attorney General Cynthia Coffman paid a visit to the Summit Daily offices on Thursday as part of her whistle stop tour of Summit County. Prior to stopping at the Daily, she visited the Bright Future Foundation—an advocacy group for victims of domestic violence and sexual assault in Avon—and the Healthy Futures Initiative in Frisco, which works to prevent youth substance abuse. She also met with the police chiefs of Summit County’s towns and interim Sheriff Jaime FitzSimons.

The Tuesday before, her office coordinated a drug bust that netted 40 pounds of brown powder heroin, a variant of the opioid drug that is more potent than its traditional counterpart. It can also be snorted rather than injected, making in more appealing to kids and teenagers. Brown powder is a recent entrant into the narcotics marketplace, and may be a response to marijuana legalization cutting into cartel market share, although Coffman stopped short of drawing a definitive link.

“We don’t have enough data yet to address questions related to legalization of marijuana, including underage use,” she said. “It’s only been one year, and we need at least five years to thoroughly assess how it’s changing the landscape.”

One trend that is clear, however, is the spike in opioid and heroin use in the past couple of years, a topic she discussed with Healthy Futures. Coffman’s newly formed office of community engagement, headed up by Jose Esquibel, is currently working with groups across the state to identify trends in substance abuse and how to best respond to them.

But fighting drug abuse is hardly Coffman’s only mandate.

“Public safety issues—like big drug busts—are the most high-profile things we tend to deal with,” she said. “But they’re really just a fraction of what we do.”

Her office is also working to fight domestic violence, sexual assault, human trafficking and the myriad other issues that sometimes fall between the cracks. She recently revamped the state’s “Safe 2 Tell” program, which gives kids and teens a safe way to anonymously report bullying, by incorporating it into a mobile app. Almost immediately, there was a 68 percent increase in reports. The app has also helped law enforcement prevent several suicides.

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