By Jennifer McRae

DENVER (CBS4)– Elected leaders from across Colorado are partnering for a first-ever fentanyl summit next month. Fentanyl-related overdoses have risen 260% since 2019 in the state.

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Eighteenth Judicial District Attorney John Kellner and 17th Judicial District Attorney Brian Mason are chairing the summit.

The summit stems after Colorado lawmakers passed a bill that provides millions of dollars for treatment, education and harm reduction. It also increases penalties for those who sell fentanyl.

Mason is heading up the second-biggest case of fentanyl-related deaths in the country.

(credit: CBS)

“The single biggest achievement of this bill is the addition of the distribution of fentanyl causing death statute. Right now if somebody sells fentanyl and someone else dies, I don’t have a tool under our laws to actually charge that person,” said Mason.

The summit is scheduled for June 2 and 3 in Denver. Some of the issues that will be discussed include how to prosecute overdose deaths and better support of law enforcement and first responders during the rapid rise of fentanyl-related calls.

Jennifer McRae