KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

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Refusal To Prescribe Opioids May Have Fueled Motive In Murder Of Indiana Doctor

A man shot a doctor who refused to write a prescription for his wife, who has chronic pain, before killing himself. Police are still investigating. In other news on the national drug epidemic, Chicago is handing out overdose antidotes to at-risk inmates upon release, Philadelphia aims to clean up and shut down a notorious heroin camp and Ohio doctors are working to cut down on painkiller prescriptions.

The Washington Post: A Doctor Was Killed For Refusing To Prescribe Opioids, Authorities Say
An Indiana man shot and killed himself shortly after gunning down a doctor who refused to prescribe opioid medication to his wife, authorities said this week. The shooting and the suicide unfolded within just hours of each other Wednesday in Mishawaka in northern Indiana, a state that's been gripped by problems with opioid addiction over the past several years. St. Joseph County Prosecutor Ken Cotter told reporters that Michael Jarvis confronted physician Todd Graham for not prescribing an opioid for his wife's chronic pain, but he cautioned that investigators are still determining whether drug addiction played a role in the killing. (Phillips, 7/29)

Philadelphia Inquirer: Lights, Camera, Cleanup For Heroin Camp … But Then What?
“There is this expectation that fences are going to go up and lights are going to go up and it’s problem solved,” said Jose Benitez, executive director of Prevention Point Philadelphia, the health-care provider and needle-exchange that has worked with the community for years. “That is not the way it is going to happen.” No one really knows where the residents of the encampment along the Conrail tracks are going. Most have already left, some into treatment, several dozen to city-funded housing, others joining small homeless clusters under I-95, more likely breaking into abandoned houses nearby. (Sapatkin, 7/30)

Columbus Dispatch: Ohio Doctors Cut Opioid Prescriptions, But Is It Enough?
The amount of opioid pain killers prescribed in Franklin County dropped by 41 percent from 2010 to 2015, but doctors still were prescribing the equivalent of a 14-day supply of the drugs for every person in the county, according to federal data. ... Across Ohio, prescriptions for opioids decreased by at least 10 percent in all but 13 of 88 counties. (Viviano, 7/30)

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