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Eleven Denver mayoral candidates share views on how to reduce fentanyl’s death toll 


Denver — Eleven candidates for Denver mayor responded to four specific questions from Rise Above Colorado about how they would address the city’s fentanyl epidemic, which claimed far more lives in 2022 than car crashes and homicides combined. 

According to Denver Medical Examiner online data, fentanyl overdoses resulted in 233 deaths last year. Traffic accidents and homicides each resulted in 91 deaths in 2022, the data show. 

The mayoral candidate responses are shared at, a resource that also provides information on how we all can address fentanyl’s risks to our community. 

Rise Above Colorado is promoting this online resource with digital ads, social media, and billboards. The ads highlight the widespread harm caused by fentanyl and ask: “What Is Our Plan?” 

Rise Above Colorado is a statewide prevention organization that measurably impacts teen perceptions and attitudes about the risks of substance misuse to empower youth to make healthy connections, decisions, and change. 

 In response to the fentanyl epidemic that is driving overdose deaths among Coloradans of all ages, Rise Above Colorado is partnering with experts and organizations who share its goal of raising awareness of the issue to drive dialogue and preparedness among individuals and communities. 

Partners on this project include Boys and Girls Clubs in Colorado, the Colorado Consortium for Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention, 5280 High School, and OpiRescue, a free smartphone app that helps anyone recognize overdoses and reverse them with naloxone. 

“Fentanyl has created a public health epidemic that directly or indirectly impacts everyone in the community,” said Kent MacLennan, executive director of Rise Above Colorado. “We all have a role to play in reducing its tragic death toll. Our goal is to give practical information that anyone can use to make a positive impact. By asking ‘What Is Our Plan?’, we want to prompt everyone to think about their role. We’re providing quality, practical information they can use to save lives at home, at school, or wherever is most relevant to them.” 

All 17 candidates who qualified for the mayoral ballot were invited to respond to the questionnaire. The eight candidate responses are being provided in an objective and even-handed way on the website. Rise Above Colorado will not comment on the specific responses or promote any candidate.  

On Thursday, March 16 at 2 p.m. 5280 High School and Rise Above Colorado will host a youth-led mayoral forum addressing issues including youth mental health, fentanyl and school-based violence. The forum, which is open to the media (but not to the general public), will be held at 5280 High School (1200 W. Mississippi Ave.). Twelve candidates have indicated they will participate in the forum.