The following statement can be attributed to Tim Macdonald, ACLU of Colorado Legal Director: 

“Today, the Pueblo County District Court ordered the City of Pueblo immediately to stop enforcing a harmful new ordinance that had prohibited syringe exchange programs within the city. As a result of the court’s order, these critical public health services can resume immediately. This is a welcome victory for our clients, Colorado Health Network and the Southern Colorado Harm Reduction Association, as they can now resume operating their life-saving syringe exchange programs, which are a pathway to overdose prevention education, substance use disorder treatment referrals, and much more. The court’s decision recognizes the profound and immediate harm the ordinance posed to our clients, the people they serve, and to public health in southern Colorado.” 

“Today’s order will remain in effect until the parties have a chance to present further evidence at a hearing scheduled for July 10, 2024. We look forward to demonstrating why this harmful ordinance is unlawful and should not be enforced.”  

On June 4, 2024, the ACLU of Colorado sued the City of Pueblo to halt enforcement of Ordinance 10698, which criminalized establishing, operating, using, or participating in syringe exchange programs (SEPs) in the city. In its lawsuit, the ACLU of Colorado asserts that Pueblo’s ordinance impermissibly conflicts with Colorado state law. Colorado first authorized the operation of SEPs in 2010; beginning in 2020, the state permitted qualified, experienced nonprofits like the plaintiffs to operate SEPs without prior local approval. SEPs are backed by thirty years of evidence as critical tools in protecting public health.