Addiction Policy Forum Launches Colorado Chapter to Help Colorado Families Impacted by the Opioid Crisis

May 30, 2018 | Addiction Policy Forum
For Immediate Release                                                                                                                  Contact:          
May 21, 2018                                                                                                                                   Diana Hollister

State chair Diana Hollister will spearhead statewide efforts

Denver, CO., May 30, 2018 — The Addiction Policy Forum (APF) announced today the launch of its Colorado chapter, led by state chair Diana Hollister of Denver. The chapter will focus on helping families in crisis and expanding prevention, treatment and recovery across Colorado.

More than 21 million Americans are suffering from addiction. Data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that 174 lives were lost daily to drug overdose in 2016—the equivalent of a plane crash every day. In 2016, Colorado saw more than 942 deaths from drug overdoses, and opioids accounted for 57 percent of those fatalities .

“Leaders and families in Colorado have done a tremendous amount of work to address addiction in communities throughout the state, and we applaud their efforts,” said Jessica Hulsey Nickel, president and chief executive officer of the Addiction Policy Forum. “Earlier this year, we learned that 63,600 people died of a drug overdose nationwide in 2016, and Colorado saw a 7.8-percent increase in overdose deaths from 2015 to 2016. It is clear more services, treatment and support are needed to help those struggling with substance use disorder. We look forward to working with a broad group of stakeholders to stem the tide of addiction in Colorado.”

APF understands the need to provide families throughout the country with better resources as well as to help communities develop and implement targeted solutions to address the impact of substance use disorder. The Colorado chapter will work on education, prevention, treatment, recovery, overdose reversal and criminal justice issues to ensure the full spectrum of solutions is being deployed. The chapter will engage a wide range of stakeholders to create specific action plans, initiate new collaborations and deploy additional localized resources for the direct benefit of all Colorado residents.

These efforts will be led by APF’s Colorado state chair, Diana Hollister, who resides in Denver. All three of Diana’s children have struggled with substance use disorder, and two are now in long-term recovery. One of her sons still actively struggles with mental illness and alcohol use disorder.

“As much as I have on my plate, I don't think I could stop advocating if I wanted to. It breaks my heart to continue to see people losing their loved ones to this disease. Since this is so close to home for me, I’m passionate about educating others on what they can do to help and ending the stigma,” Diana says.

APF’s eight strategic priorities include:

  • Help Families in Crisis: Provide new, effective resources and support for patients and families in crisis.
  • Expand Treatment Access and Integration into Healthcare: Through partnerships and research, develop resources, protocols and tools for physicians, healthcare systems and the workforce to integrate treatment of substance use disorders into healthcare.
  • Drive Discovery: Invest in research on how to treat, prevent and cure addiction and its related disorders.
  • Expand Recovery Support: Properly prioritize and secure resources for the recovery support programs that individuals need in their communities.
  • Prevention: Increase funding for and the number of prevention programs in Indiana and nationwide.
  • Protect Children Impacted by Parental Substance Use Disorder: Expand resources to support children who have a family member with a substance use disorder.
  • Reframe the Criminal Justice System: Partner with key stakeholders to re-envision how the criminal justice system responds to addiction.
  • Advocate and Educate: Intensify the urgency around addiction and mobilize bold action through advocacy and engagement.

About Addiction Policy Forum
The Addiction Policy Forum is a 501(c)(3) organization established in 2015 as a diverse partnership of organizations, policymakers, and stakeholders committed to working together to elevate awareness around addiction, and to improve programs and policy through a comprehensive response that includes prevention, treatment, recovery, and criminal justice reform. Jessica Hulsey Nickel, whose own family was devastated by addiction, is the founder of a coalition of 1,700 families impacted by substance use disorders and is available for further explanation and interviews by media.

More information on our mission and projects is available at

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