Reports Examine Language Barriers, Injection Drug Use, Prison Populations
- "Providing Language Services in State and Local Health-Related Benefits Offices: Examples From the Field," Commonwealth Fund: Offering appropriate language services for people with limited English proficiency can significantly improve their health care experience, according to a report for the Commonwealth Fund by Mara Youdleman, Jane Perkins and colleagues at the National Health Law Program. State and local health offices that administer health benefits such as Medicaid and SCHIP often are the first point of contact for people with limited English skills. The report outlines eight steps to help health programs tailor their language services to their patient populations and notes examples of available language services (Commonwealth Fund release, 1/19).
- "Injection Drug Users in the United States, 1979-2002: An Aging Population," Archives of Internal Medicine: Injection drug use is becoming less common among young people in the U.S., especially among blacks, according to the study (Armstrong, Archives of Internal Medicine, 1/22). For the study, lead researcher Gregory Armstrong of the CDC analyzed data from the National Household Survey on Drug Abuse for 1979 through 2002. The study found that 1.5% of respondents, or 3.4 million, in 2000-2002, said they had injected drugs before, and 0.19%, or 440,000, reported having injected drugs within the past year. Those ages 35 to 49 were most likely to report having ever injected drugs, with 3.1% who said they ever had used injection drugs. Injection drug use overall was more common among whites than blacks, at 1.7%, compared with 0.8%. Injection drug use was more common among blacks than whites for people born before 1955, though the opposite was true for those born after 1955, the study said (Reuters, 1/23).
- "Prison Health and the Health of the Public: Ties that Bind," Morehouse School of Medicine's National Center for Primary Care: Illnesses and diseases that go untreated in prison put communities at risk when prisoners are released, the report said. Many of an estimated 2.2 million incarcerated men and women have HIV/AIDS, diabetes, hypertension or asthma, and many more have undiagnosed or untreated mental illnesses, according to the report. About 8.1% of black men ages 25 to 29 were incarcerated in 2005, compared with 2.6% of Hispanics and 1.1% of whites. Study author Natasha Williams recommended that that officials and lawmakers work together to expand health care coverage, increase the number of care providers, and address housing and employment barriers among former prisoners (Diverse Issues In Higher Education, 1/19).