Recreational cannabis legalization and opioid-related deaths in Colorado, 2000-2015

Melvin D. Livingston, Tracey Elaine Barnett, Chris Delcher, Alexander C. Wagenaar

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

20 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Objectives.To examine the association between Colorado's legalization of recreational cannabis use and opioid-related deaths. Methods.Weused an interrupted time-series design (2000-2015) to compare changes in level and slope of monthly opioid-related deaths before and after Colorado stores began selling recreational cannabis.We also describe the percent change in opioid-related deaths by comparing the unadjusted model-smoothed number of deaths at the end of follow-up with the number of deaths just prior to legalization. Results. Colorado's legalization of recreational cannabis sales and use resulted in a 0.7 deaths per month (b = -0.68; 95% confidence interval = -1.34, -0.03) reduction in opioid-related deaths. This reduction represents a reversal of the upward trend in opioid-related deaths in Colorado. Conclusions. Legalization of cannabis in Colorado was associated with short-term reductions in opioid-related deaths. As additional data become available, research should replicate these analyses in other states with legal recreational cannabis.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1827-1829
Number of pages3
JournalAmerican Journal of Public Health
Volume107
Issue number11
DOIs
StatePublished - 1 Nov 2017

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Cannabis
Opioid Analgesics
Confidence Intervals
Research

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Livingston, Melvin D. ; Barnett, Tracey Elaine ; Delcher, Chris ; Wagenaar, Alexander C. / Recreational cannabis legalization and opioid-related deaths in Colorado, 2000-2015. In: American Journal of Public Health. 2017 ; Vol. 107, No. 11. pp. 1827-1829.
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Recreational cannabis legalization and opioid-related deaths in Colorado, 2000-2015. / Livingston, Melvin D.; Barnett, Tracey Elaine; Delcher, Chris; Wagenaar, Alexander C.

In: American Journal of Public Health, Vol. 107, No. 11, 01.11.2017, p. 1827-1829.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

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