KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Churches Move Toward Harm Reduction Programs In Mission To Address The Heroin Epidemic

Meanwhile, a federal prosecutor who lost his son to a heroin overdose finds himself in a position to combat the nation's drug problem.

Kaiser Health News: Offering Syringes Along With Prayers, Churches Help IV Drug Users
When Gov. Pat McCrory signed legislation in July legalizing syringe exchange programs in North Carolina, James Sizemore rejoiced. The pastor of a small church, Sizemore had — with the tacit approval of some, but not all, local law enforcement — been offering clean syringes to drug users to help them avoid contracting HIV and hepatitis C. Now he could do so without fear of arrest. (Sisk, 1/3)

The Associated Press: Federal Prosecutor Tackles Heroin Scourge That Claimed Son
[Bruce] Brandler, a veteran federal prosecutor recently promoted to interim U.S. attorney, suddenly finds himself in a position to do something about the [heroin] scourge that claimed his youngest son's life. Until now, he has never publicly discussed Erik's overdose death. It was private and just too painful. But Brandler, now the chief federal law enforcement officer for a sprawling judicial district that covers half of Pennsylvania, said he felt a responsibility that came with his new, higher-profile job. (Rubinkam, 1/2)

In related news -

Boston Globe: Doctors Are Cutting Opioids, Even If It Harms Patients
More than half of doctors across America are curtailing opioid prescriptions, and nearly 1 in 10 have stopped prescribing the drugs, according to a new nationwide online survey. But even as physicians retreat from opioids, some seem to have misgivings: More than one-third of the respondents said the reduction in prescribing has hurt patients with chronic pain. (Freyer, 1/3)

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