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Post: Guest column: Colorado needs to hold the alcohol industry accountable for the social and financial costs of addiction

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Guest column: Colorado needs to hold the alcohol industry accountable for the social and financial costs of addiction

Earlier this year, the Denver Post highlighted the impact of alcohol in the state of Colorado, and the countless advocates who dedicate themselves to addressing the very real harm alcohol addiction causes. The state legislature and the alcohol industry were rightfully called out because of our silence in the face of the most misused drug in Colorado — an enterprise fee is one way we can make things right.

Chances are, someone you know and love struggles with alcohol misuse — Colorado consistently tops the charts on problematic drinking. Colorado is the sixth highest in the nation for alcohol-induced deaths. Over half of all Coloradans have had at least one drink in the past 30 days, and we’re the ninth highest in binge drinking. One in three fatal car accidents were caused by impaired driving, with alcohol being the biggest contributor. A newly introduced bill dedicates an enterprise fee to building and supporting the systems we have in place to prevent, treat and recover from alcohol misuse.

Fees for the cannabis and tobacco industries here in Colorado fund prevention initiatives and education programs, which are both protective factors against substance use disorders. Studies overwhelmingly support that raising the price of alcohol is an effective prevention strategy. The enterprise fee does this and more — we’ll create sustainable funding for substance use programs across the state. That means more robust programs that encourage healthy decision-making, treatment options in underserved areas and a stigma-free Colorado that supports all pathways to recovery.

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