Viewpoints: Congress Needs To Shut Down Illegal Pipeline Of Fentanyl; Tragic Lesson On Street Shootings
Editorial pages focus on these health topics and others.
Fentanyl: America's Opioid Epidemic Takes A Darker Turn
America’s opioid crisis has shifted. As Congress and the White House have dawdled, the overdose death toll has continued its steady climb — reaching more than 49,000 in 2017, an increase of nearly 7,000 over the previous year, itself a record-breaker. But the primary agent of death is no longer ordinary prescription painkillers. It’s illicit fentanyl, often mixed with heroin or some other street drug. (9/10)
The Detroit News:
Health Care Leaders Must Fix Opioid Crisis
The Center for Disease Control recently released its annual report on drug overdose deaths in America, and it’s bad news for Michigan. According to the report, the Great Lakes State experienced an 8 percent rise in overdose-related deaths last year — overdoses in the state now claim more than seven lives a day, far outpacing the rate of suicides, traffic fatalities or gun deaths. As Michigan and other states are in the midst of a national discussion about the opioid epidemic, the conversation often focuses on users of prescription opioids who become addicted. But what many people don’t know is the impact the crisis has on our healthcare workers and our environment. The epidemic isn’t limited to patients — easy access to controlled substances can lead to addiction among healthcare employees, and discarded medications wreak havoc on the environment. Healthcare workers have easier access to opioids than anyone else. (Dave Shannon, 9/10)
The New York Times:
He Pleaded Against Gun Violence. Bullets Silenced Him.
When they staged a “die-in” at Stroger Hospital in Chicago earlier this year, Delmonte Johnson and his friends — who together formed GoodKids MadCity, a group dedicated to ending violence in urban communities — had a straightforward request. They wanted what their wealthier, whiter, more suburban peers already seemed to have: freedom from the oppressive fear of being gunned down in their own neighborhoods. (9/10)
Healthy Food Has Gone High End, But Is The Lifestyle Trend Worth The Cost?
Now, more than ever, it’s easy to find high-price, locally grown, organic produce alongside “superfoods” like pomegranate juice, acai berries and chia seeds. Toss it all together into a sleek $400 blender and you’ve got the cure for whatever ails, except for credit card debt. The notion that premium foods and superfoods drive better health obscures the fact that adding plain old fruits and vegetables — organic or GMO — into your diet is one of the greatest steps any of us can take to improve our well-being.According to the United States Department of Agriculture, eating a diet rich in fruits and vegetables may lower blood pressure, reduce risk for obesity, type 2 diabetes, heart disease, including heart attack and stroke, and more. (David S. Seres and Nancy E. Roman, 9/10)
Raising The Smoking Age To 21 Would Reduce Addiction And Save Lives
Tobacco is the leading cause of illness and death in the United States, claiming the lives of nearly half a million people each year. That is equivalent to three 747 planes crashing in this country every single day. However, we have the opportunity to prevent today’s teenagers from the harms experienced by the Garson family. The question is, are we willing to seize it? (Stephanie Morain and Arthur Garson Jr., 9/11)
We Can Keep Synthetic Biology Miracles Coming By Investing In US Research
A medical miracle to treat phenylketonuria (PKU) may be on the horizon. In the U.S. and many other countries, babies are tested to see if they have the rare, inherited disorder that leaves them unable to break down the amino acid phenylalanine. For those who do have PKU, what follows is a strict diet without meat, cheese, fish, nuts, eggs, beans, or other dietary protein for the rest of their lives. If phenylalanine builds up in the blood major health problems will result: neurological problems, intellectual disabilities, psychiatric disorders, and other serious effects. While there is an Food and Drug Administration (FDA)-approved medication that can help some people with PKU (in conjunction with a strict diet and frequent blood testing), treatment options are incomplete and sparse. (Gigi Gronvall, 9/10)
Los Angeles Times:
California Is Sitting On Hundreds Of Millions Of Dollars For Mental Health Programs. Let's Put It To Use
Like much of the rest of the nation, California went only halfway toward keeping its promise to improve mental health care. It closed psychiatric hospitals, some of which were really just costly warehouses for the sick rather than modern medical facilities offering effective treatment. But the state didn't follow through on its commitment to provide better alternatives, like community-based clinics that deliver the treatment and services needed to integrate patients into society, working and living independently where possible. We can see the result of those half-measures every day. (9/10)
Lexington Herald Examiner:
We Must Focus On Recovery, Not Incarceration
It is recovery, not incarceration, which allows people to become productive members of society — citizens with jobs and families who can contribute and make our communities better places to work, grow and live. It is recovery, not incarceration, which brings hope and peace into the lives of thousands of Americans and their families struggling with addiction. (Kelley Ashby Paul, 9/10)