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The original item was published from 6/5/2018 3:28:00 PM to 6/5/2018 3:31:13 PM.

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Pitkin County Press Releases

Posted on: June 5, 2018

[ARCHIVED] Esteemed Panel of Opioid Experts to Convene in Aspen


“Opioid Crisis Community Forum” Takes Place Wednesday, June 20, 6:00 - 7:30 p.m. at the Aspen School District Theatre

Aspen, Colo. (June 5, 2018) — An esteemed panel of state and local health leaders is slated to convene in Aspen for a community conversation about the opioid crisis. Co-presented by Aspen Valley Hospital and Pitkin County Public Health, the Opioid Crisis Community Forum will include presentations by subject matter experts to educate the public about opioid reduction strategies and other innovative ways to combat the opioid crisis in the community and in the home.

Opioid use disorders have emerged as a significant health concern nationally and in the State of Colorado. While Pitkin County ranks low statewide for opioid-related risk factors, the community has double the statewide average of the number of people being prescribed long-duration opioids. 

“What this statistic tells us is that we need to keep an eye on opioid use in our community, because we know the longer a patient uses opioids the greater their chance of addiction,” said Pitkin County Public Health Director, Karen Koenemann. “There could be individuals in our community who are struggling with opioid addiction, but are afraid to ask for help because of the stigma associated with substance use disorders,” Koenemann said.

The Opioid Crisis Community Forum will feature individual presentations, a panel discussion, and a demonstration:

  • The Opioid Crisis Overview with Dr. Robert Valuck, Director of the Colorado Consortium of Prescription Drug Abuse.

  • What’s Happening in Our Community with Dr. Kimberly Levin, Aspen Valley Hospital Physician and Pitkin County Medical Officer.

  • A 30-minute facilitated question and answer session with expert panelists Dr. Robert Valuck; Dr. Kimberly Levin; Dr. Kelly Locke; Aspen Valley Hospital Pharmacy Director, Alyssa Franklin; and Pitkin County Sheriff, Joe DiSalvo. 

  • The evening also includes a demonstration by Dr. Levin on how to use Naloxone (Narcan). Naloxone is used to block the effects of opioids, especially in an overdose situation. Mind Springs Health has donated 40 cans of Narcan to be given away to the public at the event.

“Aspen Valley hospital and the local medical community are taking active steps to decrease opioid use and prescriptions, and educate our patients about the inherent dangers of opioids,” said Pitkin County Medical Officer, Dr. Kimberly Levin. “In conjunction, it is critical that each community member learns about the steps he or she can take as we all work together to fight this opioid epidemic right here, locally.”

The Opioid Crisis Community Forum is set for Wednesday, June 20, 2018, from 6:00 to 7:30 p.m. at the Aspen School District Theatre. The event is free and open to the public. Snacks and light refreshments will be served. More information is available at 

Contact: Pat Bingham - Pitkin County Community Relations - 970-319-6634



Founded in 1891, Aspen Valley Hospital (AVH) is one of the most sophisticated rural hospitals in the U.S. With twenty-five beds, AVH is designated as a critical access hospital and level III trauma center, meeting the needs of the Aspen and Roaring Fork Valley communities, plus thousands of visitors from around the world every year. Combining the warmth and friendliness of a small town with the technical expertise of a major medical center, AVH has been recognized with numerous awards, including a Five-Star Rating from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid; “Hospital of Choice” award (based on Hospital Consumer Assessment of Healthcare Providers and Systems results); and a “Top 20 Best Practice in Financial Stability” designation from the National Rural Health Association for critical access hospitals in the U.S., among others. AVH offers a full range of services with board-certified specialists in 25 fields of medicine, with expanded expertise in orthopedics and sports medicine. For over 125 years, Aspen Valley Hospital has been working to deliver extraordinary healthcare in an environment of excellence, compassion, and trust. Learn more at or 970/925-1120.

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Pitkin County Public Health is a new Department within Pitkin County Government, established in 2017. The Mission of the agency is to promote health and prevent disease by encouraging environments, policies, and systems that support wellness for everyone. Core services include disease investigation and tracking, data collection and assessment, planning for disease outbreaks, environmental health policy/regulatory development and implementation and evidence-based strategies which create tobacco-free environments, and support mental health. This work is accomplished through strong, regional partnerships with community-based organizations, health care providers and residents focused on population-based change.

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