Viewpoints: Flawed Solutions To Opioid Crisis Are Hurting Thousands Truly In Pain; Industry Needs To Stem Teen Use Of E-Cigs
Editorial pages focus on these health issues and others.
The New York Times:
Some Americans suffering from chronic pain have recently lost access to medicines that helped them live normal lives. Other patients have had to turn to invasive and dangerous treatments, like spinal injections. “Consequently, patients have endured not only unnecessary suffering, but some have turned to suicide or illicit substance use,” more than 300 medical experts, including three former White House drug czars, wrote in a letter this month. “Others have experienced preventable hospitalizations or medical deterioration.” The experts sent the letter to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, urging officials there to take action. (David Leonhardt, 3/29)
The Washington Post:
Vape Makers Must Do More To Stop Kids From Using E-Cigarettes
Health and Human Services Secretary Alex M. Azar and Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb were right when they argued in The Post on March 21 that vapor products present an opportunity to move adult smokers off combustible cigarettes, the leading cause of preventable death. They are right that use by minors of vapor products, including Juul products, is a serious problem that threatens the opportunity our industry offers. They are right also that companies such as ours must step up with meaningful measures to limit access and appeal of vapor products to young people. (Chief executive of Juul Labs Kevin Burns, 3/30)
Why Are Lawmakers More Concerned With Youth Vaping Than Opioid Abuse?
In the latest installment of the youth vaping fear-mongering campaign, U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen (D-N.H.) has called the reported increase in the number of young people trying e-cigarettes as a “national crisis." Apparently, Shaheen feels the need to add more alarmism to a debate that’s already fueled by misleading research and commentary. Shaheen’s declaration comes on the heels of her recently introduced legislation that would apply fees to e-cigarette products at a national level. This is a peculiar move considering Shaheen represents a state with the second highest opioid overdose rate in the country. (Lindsey Stroud, 3/31)
The New York Times:
The Abortion Divide Gets Deeper
This week, a Georgia state representative, Ed Setzler, the sponsor of a bill that would ban most abortions as soon as a fetal heartbeat could be detected, spoke to a conservative group in the Atlanta suburbs about the legal fight he’d embarked on. “We need to maximize our influence over the next couple of weeks and then close this deal,” he said. Then, he continued, conservatives must mobilize behind Georgia’s Republican governor, Brian Kemp, as “he recruits the best legal team in the nation to take this to the highest court in the land. ”With the ascension of Brett Kavanaugh to the Supreme Court, as well as a host of other judges appointed by Donald Trump to lower courts, anti-abortion forces are engaged in a game of legislative whack-a-mole. Sensing their chance to either eviscerate or overturn Roe v. Wade, Republicans are pushing a barrage of anti-abortion measures at the state level, seeing which one goes all the way to the top. (Michelle Goldberg, 3/29)
The Wall Street Journal:
Jackpot Junk Science
The vagaries of American tort law were on display in San Francisco last week as six jurors decided that Bayer AG is liable for $80.3 million in damages for allegedly causing a Sonoma man’s non-Hodgkin lymphoma. The scientific consensus is that Bayer’s Roundup herbicide is safe, but the company is now open for looting as it faces lawsuits from some 11,200 similar plaintiffs. (3/31)
The Washington Post:
How To Tell If Your Doctor Is Too Old
When are you going to retire, Doc? It’s a question I was asked several times a week. When it didn’t elicit a satisfactory answer, I would receive a variation on the same theme the next visit: How long are you going to do that commute? My patients knew that we had sold our house and moved to a condo closer to the city, which led to a 45-minute drive to and from my suburban office each day. I was in my late 60s and had been a family doctor in the same town for nearly 40 years. I had taken care of several generations within the same families. (Jonathan Maltz, 3/31)
Grasping The Multidimensional Narrative Of Topol's 'Deep Medicine'
Depth is all about discovering a new dimension. When you add width to length and height, you create volume, which just happens to be a synonym for “book.” I’ve just finished Eric Topol’s latest tome, “Deep Medicine: How Artificial Intelligence Can Make Healthcare Human Again,” and was fascinated by its multidimensional narrative. Although artificial intelligence (AI) is more than human, Topol took great pains to make “Deep Medicine” a book of human dimensions. (Ken Gordon, 4/1)
San Francisco Chronicle:
Insight: We Need A Plan To Care For Aging Californians
Our city’s cost of living increases show no sign of slowing, adding to the financial squeeze that plagues California’s older adults. We cannot continue to ignore this problem. (Jeannee Parker Martin and David Berg, 3/29)
Cleveland Plain Dealer:
Mental Disorders Are Not Diseases: David A. Hancock
The mind is not a physical organ; it cannot have a disease. While one can have a diseased brain, one cannot have a diseased mind. The DSM is simply a manual of symptoms elicited from thoughts, feelings and behaviors as a conscious choice or as responses to psychological stress, anxiety, frustration, anger, fear and perceptions. (David A. Hancock , 3/31)
Four Labor Unions Work To Avoid A Sac School Strike. Why Can’t Teachers?
A statewide takeover of Sac City Unified would undoubtedly hurt programs kids need to read at grade level and achieve developmental steps to be ready for high school and beyond. This is a train wreck waiting to happen, and if it does happen, you can blame the leaders of SCTA for the destruction that will surely follow if the district runs out of money. (Marcos Bretón, 3/31)