KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

Clinics Focus On Helping Pregnant Women Deal With Prescription Drug Addictions

The Wall Street Journal examines the growing number of women addicted to pain killers and efforts to help them through pregnancies.

The Wall Street Journal: Fighting Drug-Based Births
When Tara Lee Bailey, a longtime pain-pill addict, became pregnant last year, she tried to quit cold turkey. But she said the experience was so miserable—with vomiting, cold sweats and aching bones—that she went right back to using. Then she learned about a program at the new Maternal Addiction and Recovery Center at Marshall University's medical school here and signed up. It's one of a small but growing number of clinics for mothers-to-be cropping up around the country in response to the prescription-drug epidemic, which has triggered a rise of addicted mothers giving birth to drug-dependent babies. The clinics, which are typically free for patients, are often tied to university medical centers and funded through a combination of Medicaid, health insurance and grants (Campo-Flores, 7/5).

In other public health news, the New York Times reports on a fungal disease that has officials concerned.

The New York Times: A Disease Without A Cure Spreads Quietly In The West
Coccidioidomycosis, known as "cocci," is an insidious airborne fungal disease in which microscopic spores in the soil take flight on the wind or even a mild breeze to lodge in the moist habitat of the lungs and, in the most extreme instances, spread to the bones, the skin, the eyes or, in Mr. Klorman's case, the brain. The infection, which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has labeled "a silent epidemic," is striking more people each year, with more than 20,000 reported cases annually throughout the Southwest, especially in California and Arizona. Although most people exposed to the fungus do not fall ill, about 160 die from it each year, with thousands more facing years of disability and surgery (Brown, 7/4).

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