KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Lawmakers Make Plea To WHO To Do Everything In Its Power To Prevent Global Opioid Crisis

“The greed and recklessness of one company and its partners helped spark a public health crisis in the United States that will take generations to fully repair,” the lawmakers wrote in a letter to the organization. “Please learn from our experience and do not allow Mundipharma to carry on Purdue’s deadly legacy on a global stage.”

Los Angeles Times: Congressional Representatives Warn WHO Of OxyContin Maker's Global Push
Members of Congress called on the World Health Organization Wednesday to “do everything in its power” to stop the manufacturer of the highly addictive painkiller OxyContin from setting off “a worldwide opioid epidemic” with its rapid expansion into developing countries and other foreign markets. In a letter to the WHO’s director-general, a dozen U.S. representatives from areas devastated by opioid addiction urged the international medical community to be wary of Connecticut opioid maker Purdue Pharma and its international arm, known as Mundipharma. (Ryan, 5/3)

In other news on the epidemic —

Miami Herald: Florida Governor Declares Public Health Emergency Over Opioid Crisis 
Four years into an opioid epidemic that has claimed thousands of lives in Florida, Gov. Rick Scott officially declared a public health emergency Wednesday. An emergency declaration gives Scott the power to spend immediately without the Legislature’s approval and for public health officials to move quickly to respond to a crisis. It also allows the state to accept a federal grant awarded two weeks ago for prevention, treatment and recovery services that will total more than $54 million over the next two years. (Auslen, 5/3)

Health News Florida: Scott Declares Public Health Emergency For Opioid Crisis
The order gives the state access to more than $27 million in federal grant money from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The state was awarded a $54 million on April 21 through the department’s Opioid State Targeted Response grant. The money will be used to provide prevention, recovery and support services, including the drug Naloxone, which reverses overdoses. (Ochoa, 5/3)

Health News Florida: Orange County Heroin Overdose Cases Double 
Deaths from heroin and fentanyl overdoses have more than doubled in unincorporated Orange County. Orange County Sheriff Jerry Demings says the sheriff’s office has responded to more than 160 heroin overdoses in the first three months of 2017 alone – a 132 percent increase over last year. (Aboraya, 5/3)

Cincinnati Enquirer: NKY Might Use Tech To Map Overdoses In Real Time
First responders in Northern Kentucky have a chance to pin overdoses to an electronic map immediately with technology offered from a federal High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area (HIDTA) program. State Rep. Kim Moser, R-Taylor Mill, arranged a session Wednesday between Northern Kentucky first responders and Washington-Baltimore HIDTA Deputy Director Jeff Beeson to see a secured mobile application that, Beeson said, can "make sure we have real-time data that is cross-jurisdictional." (DeMio, 5/3)

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