Summer 2018
The Colorado State Epidemiological Outcomes Workgroup (SEOW) is a network of state agencies and data experts brought together to examine the patterns, context, and impact of substance use. The Colorado SEOW is associated with the Attorney General’s Office as the data committee for the Substance Abuse Trend and Response Task Force. This unique relationship allows the SEOW to provide key leaders and legislators with information on substance use trends and to help inform the allocation of resources.

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The Colorado SEOW aims to have a data presention at each monthly meeting.  Presentations provide members an opportunity to learn about new data sources and data products, offer presenters a chance to receive feedback and answer questions from a group of data experts, and allow for a larger conversation on substance use trends in our state.  Please see the "Upcoming Meetings" section below for more information on upcoming presenters.

Additionally, the SEOW has three workgroups, the
Alcohol Policy Workgroup, the Data Workgroup, and the Sustainability Workgroup

Alcohol Policy Workgroup is a subcommittee of the larger SEOW and was formed to research evidence-based policies to reduce excessive drinking. Since releasing the group's first product, a brief on Reducing Excessive Drinking to Build Healthier Communities, members have given several presentations.  These include presentations at the Colorado Shared Risk and Protective Factors Conference, the National Conference for the Council of State and Territorial Epidemiologists, and the Opioid and Other Substance Use Disorders Study Committee within the Colorado Legislature

The group will continue to gather information on evidence-based policies to reduce excessive drinking and develop products aimed at raising awareness of and providing resources for reducing excessive drinking and its unintended harms to health and safety.

The Data Workgroup (DWG) is another subcommittee of the larger SEOW.  One of the primary reasons the DWG convened was to conduct a data-use needs assessment with organizations involved in substance abuse prevention and treatment across Colorado to better understand current data usage, access, challenges, and useful resources or products the SEOW could provide.

The workgroup administered an online survey and conducted key informant interviews with representatives from six local public health departments.  Survey data were not included in analysis because of a low response rate.  However, the workgroup analyzed interview data for prominent themes and found interviewees expressed a lack of skill in data literacy and experience in data collection, interpretation, and dissemination.  Interviewees mentioned formal training events as a potential solution to overcome these challenges.

The SEOW collectively reviewed the data needs assessment findings at the July meeting and plan to form a training workgroup to consider next steps.  

Sustainability Workgroup will focus primarily on developing a sustainability plan in the coming fiscal year (Oct. 1, 2018 - Sept. 30, 2019).

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Ways To
Get Involved

The SEOW meets monthly on the third Thursday from 9-11 a.m. (locations vary). Future dates and presenters are:

  • Sept. 20 - Mariana del Hierro (CDPHE), Healthy Kids Colorado Survey
  • Oct. 18 - Emily Payne (CDPHE), Colorado Pregnancy Risk Assessment Monitoring System
  • Nov. 15 - Adam Anderson (Tri-County Public Health Department), Our Path to Developing Publicly Available Public Health Data

For more information, visit the
Colorado SEOW website

Interested in contributing your perspective and expertise to further impact substance use efforts?

  • Attend an upcoming monthly meeting in person or virtually
  • Present data or data products with which you are familiar
  • Share our newsletter with others in your network
  • Become an SEOW member by contacting Sharon Liu

According to the DEA, "Fentanyl is the most prevalent and the most significant synthetic opioid threat to the United States and will very likely remain the most prevalent synthetic opioid threat in the near term. The fentanyl threat remains most severe in the white powder heroin user market in the Midwest and Northeast United States, and fentanyl availability continues to be primarily by itself or with heroin. Fentanyl mixtures with non-opioid substances are a cause for public health concern due to the high potential for large numbers of fatal overdoses in short periods of time; however, there is no evidence that transnational criminal organizations (TCO) are trafficking strategic quantities of fentanyl already mixed with non-opioid drugs. Fentanyl’s popularity is unlikely to be challenged in the near term, but traffickers will likely continue to produce new fentanyl-related substances and other novel opioids."

Click here to view the  full report...
Colorado Drug Trends in Substance Use Treatment Data
presented by Colorado Office of Behavioral Health
The Office of Behavioral Health’s Data and Evaluation Team presented their annual Drug Trends Analysis report in August 2018. This report summarizes findings from a nine-year trend analysis based on substance use treatment data from OBH-licensed facilities. The analysis focused on the six main substances that comprise 98 percent of all substance use treatment records: alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, methamphetamine, heroin and prescription opioids.

If you have questions or comments, please contact Stephanie Russell (
). Click here to view in your browser and download...
Additional Links
E-Cigarettes - JUUL & The Guinea Pig Generation – Public Health Concerns about Use by Young People by the Public Health Law Center at Mitchell Hamline School of Law.

E-Cigarette Aerosols Impair Function Of Lung Macrophages by Reuters Health.

The CDPHE Vital Statistics Program posted updated spreadsheets of drug overdose deaths. Scroll down for links to several spreadsheets on drug overdose death statistics:

Center for Disease Control and Prevention has recently updated their provisional results on drug overdose deaths.

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