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The Colorado House on Tuesday passed bipartisan legislation to prevent suicides by regulating sales of sodium nitrite products. The bill passed by a vote of 60-4.

Colorado State Capitol. Photo courtesy of Pixabay.

“Colorado is in a mental health crisis, and the growing frequency of suicide by sodium nitrite products indicates that these products are too easily accessible,” said the bill’s primary sponsor Rep. Judy Amabile (D-Boulder).

“Some private online sellers are marketing concentrated sodium nitrite products as a way to complete suicide, profiting off of the mental health struggles of our loved ones and neighbors,” she adds. “This bill brings much-needed regulation to these products so we can keep it out of the hands of people most susceptible to it and focus instead on getting them help.”

Sodium nitrite “suicide kits” are easily accessible online and have been reported to be used by Colorado residents, especially youth, in recent years. Websites that sell these kits often have step-by-step instructions on how to use sodium nitrite to complete suicide.

HB24-1081, also sponsored by Representative Marc Catlin, would regulate the sale or transfer of products that contain 10 percent or greater of sodium nitrite. Sellers would be required to verify that commercial businesses require the product before a transaction could be made, and records of sales or transfers must be kept for three years.

Violators could see $10,000 in civil penalties for a first violation, with up to $1 million for a second violation.