Sewer Systems Can Reveal Record Of Public’s Health, And Scientists Want To Use That To Fight Opioid Crisis
Measuring traces of the drugs in the wastewater can paint a detailed picture of the epidemic, and give a powerful tool to communities that are struggling. Other news on the crisis comes out of Pennsylvania, Michigan and Kansas.
How Scientists Want To Use Sewers To Track The Spread Of Opioids
Today, science has made possible what [Victor] Hugo could not have fathomed in his day: water-sampling robots placed at strategic points in a sewer system and capable of delivering ever-more precise information about a community’s health. As the country confronts an opioid crisis that kills more than 60,000 American each year, one Cambridge, Mass.-based company is hoping that it can use that kind of technology to measure traces of the drugs in sewers. Doing so, according to the firm, Biobot Analytics, could help to reveal remarkably detailed patterns of drug use — and give communities a powerful tool to detect emerging public health threats. (Chen, 6/26)
The Philadelphia Inquirer:
She Was Just Out Of Rehab. She Was Excited About The Future. Three Hours Later, She Was Dead.
When Jessica Ney stopped by his office one morning in March, Joe Quinn thought she looked happier than he’d ever seen her. She’d just gotten out of rehab for her heroin addiction and couldn’t wait to get her life restarted, she told Quinn and other outreach workers at Pathways to Housing, the innovative Philadelphia program that helped her get a place to live even before she got sober. (Whelan, 6/25)
Detroit Free Press:
Opioid Addiction: Using Acupuncture To Help Fight Pain
The number of people choosing to treat chronic pain with acupuncture instead of opioids is growing. [Ryan] Gauthier — a doctor of acupuncture and Oriental medicine at the Henry Ford Health System's Center for Integrative Medicine in Northville — is eager to help them avoid the highly addictive pain killers. It's his job, of course. But it's also his passion. ...As more people learn more about the drugs' incredible power to destroy and as more doctors cut back on prescriptions (in Michigan the number of opioid prescriptions dispensed decreased by 10.7 percent since 2015), acupuncture is becoming an increasingly attractive alternative. Research shows it is effective in managing some types of pain. (Kovanis, 6/25)
Kansas City Star:
Mother's Story Shows State Of KC's Opioid Crisis
Lawsuits against the opioid manufacturers, including one brought by Missouri Attorney General Josh Hawley, are piling up and drawing scrutiny to the industry's marketing practices. With new federal and state guidelines on opioid use taking hold, prescriptions are down about 20 percent in Kansas and Missouri since 2013. Missouri still doesn't have a comprehensive statewide monitoring system, but Gilmore said her daughter is now "red-flagged" in a system Jackson County set up in 2016. (Marso, 6/26)