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Seldeen responds to coarse remarks by Garfield County Commissioners

Maggie Seldeen poses with a sign in front of a High Rockies Harm Reduction banner.
Courtesy of High Rockies Harm Reduction
Maggie Seldeen poses with a sign in front of a High Rockies Harm Reduction banner.

On Monday, several Garfield County commissioners made statements referring to harm reduction efforts as “enabling” those with addiction and referring to addiction as simply “bad choices”. To gain a different perspective, KDNK caught up with Maggie Seldeen, director of High Rockies Harm Reduction for her thoughts on their commentary.

"Yeah well, it's you know frustrating. First of all I want to make it really clear that to the best of my knowledge I work in collaboration with Tom Jankovsky, that we've been working on committees together for the past 2 years, and have mutually agreed to put Regional opioid settlement funding to harm reduction so I was really surprised by some of those comments because the county has already agreed to give Regional money to harm reduction. The public health Departments of our Tri-County area have all been pushing for this and have all been very supportive of this... but really it's that word choice. And I saw that in the article about the commissioner hearing that said "this is based on choices that people are making" and when we talk about choice, choice is rooted in Opportunity. Your choices are based on the opportunities that were given to you and if I had the same opportunities as commissioner Samson in my life, then maybe I would have made the same choices as he has in his life. For example. what are your choices to treat pain? What are they? They're opioids. They don't work, they're not very great at treating pain, they're addictive, they're lethal, and the moment you become physically dependent to them, which will happen to anybody within 5 to 14 days, you can no longer access them. So now hundreds of thousands of Americans are forced to access what they know is contaminated with fentanyl they're terrified for their lives and they're trying to manage their pain and this is their only choice."

Hattison Rensberry has a Bachelor’s Degree in Graphic Design and Drawing, but has worked for newsrooms in various capacities since 2019.
She also provides Editorial Design for the Sopris Sun.