Behavioral Health and Public Health Collaborate on State Marijuana Prevention Efforts

The Office of Behavioral Health (OBH) and the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment (CDPHE) participated in a multi-state meeting in October to discuss the overlap between public health and behavioral health marijuana work. The Multi-State and Public Health Learning Collaborative Meeting, convened annually by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Foundation and SAMHSA and held in Denver this year, brought together public health and behavioral health officials from Alaska, California, Colorado, Massachusetts, Nevada, Oregon and Washington.

Attendees at the meeting:

  1. Began to define and understand the unique and overlapping roles behavioral health and public health have in preventing marijuana related harms. 
  2. Discussed key areas of marijuana that pertain to public health and behavioral health; and shared challenges, lessons learned, and promising practices.
  3. Identified opportunities for increased partnership between behavioral health and public health within individual states and between states. 
  4. Facilitated ongoing networking and communication across states.

In addition to collaborating and learning with other states, OBH had time for one-on-one planning with CDPHE. The meeting showed Colorado is ahead of other states in behavioral health and public health collaboration, as OBH and CDPHE already hold quarterly meetings to coordinate efforts and messages.