Colorado kids and teens are dying at a rate higher than U.S. average – and suicide is to blame

Suicide is the leading cause of death in Colorado among children and young adults ages 10 to 24. This comes to light with the release of the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2019 Kids Count Data Book, which compares children’s well-being across all 50 states.

In 2017, the state’s teen suicide rate rose to 21 deaths per 100,000 from 12 deaths per 100,000 in 2014 [coincidentally the year marijuana legalization took effect]. The 2017 rate is the highest since Colorado began tracking suicide deaths by age group in 1980.

The Kids Count report puts Colorado 20th overall in child well-being but 41st among states for children’s health. “The poor heath rating is a result of Colorado’s high death rate among kids and teens, lower-than-average birth weight for babies, and above-average use of alcohol and drugs among teens,” notes the Colorado Sun.

The number of low-birth-weight babies increased to 9.1 percent in 2017, up from 8.8 percent in 2010. The 2017 national average was 8.3 percent.

On the educational front the report ranked Colorado as 44th in on-time high-school graduation rates. One-fifth of the state’s high-school students do not graduate in four years.

Read the Colorado Sun report here.
Read the Annie E. Casey Foundation’s 2019 Kids Count Data Book here.
Access Kids Count Colorado data sheet here.
Access Kids Count data sheets for other states here.

Potent pot, vulnerable teens trigger concerns in first states to legalize marijuana

“The first two states to legalize recreational marijuana,” writes the Washington Post,“are starting to grapple with teenagers’ growing use of highly potent pot, even as both boost the industry and reap huge tax windfalls from its sales.”

The legal purchase age of 21 is about as effective deterring adolescent marijuana use as it is deterring adolescent alcohol use. Parents, educators, and doctors say kids can easily access edibles and concentrates with levels of THC that can average 68 percent.

Calls to poison control centers and visits to ERs have risen. Denver’s Children’s Hospital Colorado has treated 777 problems such as cyclic vomiting, paranoia, psychosis, and other marijuana-related symptoms in kids, up from 161 in 2005, a few years before the state commercialized marijuana for medical use.

Seattle’s Children’s Hospital also is seeing a jump in marijuana-related emergencies. “I hope we don’t lose a generation of people before we become clear we need to protect our kids’ brains,” says Leslie Walker-Harding, who chairs the hospital’s pediatrics department.

Colorado leads 37 states in adolescent vaping. Some school officials say half their students vape during school hours, using marijuana as well as nicotine.

Legislators in both states passed laws this year to encourage marijuana industry expansion and loosen regulations, including a law allowing marijuana home delivery in Colorado.

Read Washington Post story here.

Marijuana use among pregnant women doubles

A new study released yesterday finds that marijuana use doubled among pregnant women between 2002 and 2017 and is most common in the first trimester.

Past-month marijuana use increased from 3.4 percent to 7 percent among pregnant women overall.

The data came from an analysis of the National Survey on Drug Use and Health between 2002 and 2017, which involved nearly half a million women.

Read Journal of the American Medical Association research letter here.

Pure cannabis cigarettes to be introduced to Canadian cannabis market

THC BioMed, a Canadian licensed marijuana producer, announced this week that it will automate the pre-rolling of 100 percent cannabis cigarettes – with filters.

The company says it believes this will change the game in the same way automation changed the tobacco industry and will “bring meaningful changes to the current cannabis industry and its bottom line.” The cigarettes will contain no tobacco.

In addition to retail use, the cigarettes will be marketed for medical use, marking a new first in which doctors will tell patients to smoke to treat their health problems.

THC BioMed’s automation plant can produce up to 5,000 cigarettes per minute.

Read PR Announcement here.

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