Viewpoints: Add Scary Graphic Warnings To Cigarette Packs As Quickly As Possible; Lessons On How To Save Millions From Opioids
Opinion writers weigh in on these public health topics and others.
The Washington Post:
Warnings On Tobacco Products Actually Work. Here’s Why.
When "Mad Men's" Betty Draper puffed on a cigarette while pregnant, modern audiences cringed. Public awareness of smoking’s toll on people’s lungs and on their children has come far since the 1960s. But lung cancer and birth defects are only a couple of the severe health problems associated with tobacco use. New warning labels the Food and Drug Administration rolled out last Thursday aim to make other potential health consequences better known — with large, graphic depictions of what else long-term smokers should expect from their habit. One of the new labels shows a man with a heart surgery scar running up his chest, warning that smoking clogs arteries and causes heart disease and strokes. (8/18)
Los Angeles Times:
A Drug Called Buprenorphine Saved Me From Heroin Addiction. It Could Save Millions More — If We Let It
Buprenorphine saved my life. Unlike other opioids, buprenorphine is a partial opiate-agonist. Think of it as a life raft or a snorkel. You’re neither high nor drowning, but you’re still in the middle of the ocean. Any doctor can prescribe Oxycontin and fentanyl. Less than 7% of doctors have the special license required to prescribe buprenorphine as an addiction treatment, and there’s a limit to the number of patients each doctor can treat. In 2016, the Obama administration increased the number from 100 to 275 — where it stands today. (David Poses, 8/18)
‘Medicare-For-All’ Would Be Hazardous To The Health Of Seniors – Rationed Care Could Be Deadly
Sen. Kamala Harris, D-Calif., had a run-in with the Greatest Generation on Aug. 12. Roberta Jewell, a resident at the Bickford Senior Living Center in Muscatine, Iowa, told the Democratic presidential hopeful to "leave our health care alone."Like many Americans, Jewell is reluctant to embrace the "Medicare-for-all" plans Harris and several of her Democratic colleagues have proposed. The Iowan is right to be wary. Medicare-for-all would destroy Medicare as we know it -- and make it harder for seniors to access care. (Sally Pipes, 8/18)
Containing The Ebola Outbreak Means Addressing Its Root Causes
Upward of 15 new Ebola infections are occurring every day. In Goma, a city of 2 million people that borders Rwanda, and has an international airport, four patients have been diagnosed with the disease and two have died of it. We are at a precipice. If this epidemic is not brought under control quickly, it will spread beyond the DRC and possibly beyond Africa, as occurred during the West African Ebola epidemic in 2014 to 2016. The World Health Organization’s recent declaration of a public health emergency of international concern in the DRC is a welcome step forward and will attract sorely needed resources. But it will take more — much more — to turn around this situation. (Joel G. Breman, 8/19)
Is The Climate Crisis Affecting Our Mental Health?
A recent article in The Guardian, painfully illustrated how residents of Greenland, the world’s largest non-continental island located between the Arctic and Atlantic oceans, are experiencing mental health problems as they intimately experience climate change. The ongoing increase in the Earth's average surface temperature is resulting in the disappearing beauty of Greenland, and the dissolution of their way of life. Inhabitants’ angst over this tremendous loss has been labeled ecological grief. To some, this may sound like something happening to strangers in a foreign land. What they do not yet realize is that the emotional challenge of climate change is all of ours. (Joan Cook, 8/16)
The New York Times:
Why Warning Pregnant Women Not To Drink Can Backfire
In many areas of health policy, the best of intentions can lead to more harm than good. Such is the case with America’s approach to alcohol and pregnancy. The best evidence shows that punitive policies — such as equating drinking while pregnant as child abuse and threatening to involve child protective services — can dissuade women from getting prenatal care. Fetal alcohol spectrum disorders refer to a collection of problems in babies and children. (Aaron E. Carroll, 8/19)
Kansas City Star:
Carrying Rifles At Walmart Shows Insanity Of Missouri Law
Two men lacking the common sense God gave a garden slug strolled into a Kansas City Walmart with a rifle and a handgun on Sunday and, whew, were promptly taken into custody. But under this state’s laws, police later said they’d done nothing illegal. Which only shows how unholstered and unhinged Missouri’s gun laws and their makers really are. (Melinda Henneberger, 8/19)
One Thing All Mass Shooters Have In Common Is Guns Not Mental Illness
People of all races have mental illnesses. But the vast majority of mass shooters in our country are white. If mental illness was the cause of mass shootings, we’d see people of all genders and all races and in countries around the world perpetrating this crime at the same rates. Since that’s not the case, it defies logic to place the blame for mass shootings on mental illness. Finally, all mass shooters do not have a mental illness, but they do all have a gun. (Elisa Hoffman, 8/16)
Needle Exchanges Save Lives. How Could Arizona Say They Don't?
Shot in the Dark, Phoenix's largest needle exchange, may close because it doesn't have the resources to keep pace with demand. Yet a department spokesperson told The Arizona Republic that these programs – which the state has yet to authorize – do “not have an immediate impact on reducing deaths.” (Tony Rivero, 8/16)