Viewpoints: GOP’s Opioid Bill Is Not Worth Celebrating; Time To Reinvent The Failed Drug Enforcement Agency
Editorial pages focus on these health issues and others.
The Washington Post:
Don’t Be Fooled. Republicans Don’t Care About The Opioid Epidemic.
It’s tempting to celebrate the Senate’s Monday night vote to pass its massive legislative package meant to curb the nation’s opioid epidemic. In this political climate — and given this administration’s record on health-care issues — you might be willing to take any sort of victory at all. But this bill is not worth celebrating. It’s an illustration of how little Republicans care about the opioid crisis. (Robert Gebelhoff, 9/17)
The New York Times:
The Federal Agency That Fuels The Opioid Crisis
Every day, nearly 200 people across the country die from drug overdoses. Opioids have been the primary driver of this calamity: first as prescription painkillers, then heroin and, more recently, illicitly manufactured fentanyl. The death toll has risen steadily over the past two decades. The Drug Enforcement Administration, the agency that most directly oversees access to opioids, deserves much of the blame for these deaths. Because of its incompetence, the opioid crisis has gone from bad to worse. The solution: overhauling the agency, or even getting rid of it entirely. (Leo Beletsky and Jeremiah Goulka, 9/17)
Time For A Federal Commission On Sex Abuse Of Children
We must insist that this country hold a national, federal inquiry that covers all 50 states. In doing so, the United States will not be leading, but following, many other countries around the globe that have already conducted such national public inquiries — like tiny Ireland, which took the lead in the last decade with three government reports and now has a fourth national ongoing inquiry by a Mothers and Babies Commission of Inquiry into mistreatment of mothers and infants in homes run by Catholic orders. (Arthur McCaffrey, 9/18)
The New York Times:
Medicine’s Financial Contamination
The fall from grace last week of Dr. José Baselga, the former chief scientific officer of Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center, illuminated a longstanding problem of modern medicine: Potentially corrupting payments by drug and medical device makers to influential people at research hospitals are far more common than either side publicly acknowledges. ... Medical journals and professional organizations have also told The Times that they are looking for ways to streamline the disclosure process for doctors and to better track those disclosures themselves. Those are good first steps, but if institutions charged with curing the sick are serious about finally stopping the corruption of medicine by money, they’ll need to do much more than that. (9/14)
The Washington Post:
We Fed Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria. Why Couldn’t President Trump?
Our organization, World Central Kitchen, is a small nonprofit founded in 2010, after the Haiti earthquake, to deliver smart food solutions after such disasters. Last year, we organized chefs, cooks and thousands of volunteers to prepare and deliver more than 3.7 million meals to Americans in Puerto Rico after the hurricane. We did not own any delivery trucks, helicopters or superpowers. We just got to work, as a team, to feed people. Along the way, we found doctors and nurses who were going hungry while they were trying to save lives without reliable power or vital medical supplies. There were National Guard troops who hadn't eaten a real meal in weeks. We found that there was ample water on the island but a chronic lack of public-health information and a disregard for getting regular water supplies to the people. (José Andrés and Richard Wolffe, 9/17)
Some Students Quit Mental Health Medication When They Get To College. Here’s Why That’s So Dangerous.
More students than ever before are entering college with pre-existing mental health conditions, and medication can be an important component of their care. But many students stop taking medications when they arrive on campus — the exact moment their stress levels shoot up. The result can be a resurgence of mental illness symptoms, side effects students don't realize can occur from the sudden stop, and in the worst cases, self-harm and even suicide. (Aneri Pattani, 9/18)
Los Angeles Times:
Netflix Is Televising Prejudice Against The Chronically Ill
Ableism kills. I’ve watched my fellow patients with myalgic encephalomyelitis, also known as chronic fatigue syndrome, suffer and even die from the ignominy of a suspect disease. Patients often can’t get effective medical care, their disability insurance applications are rejected, their marriages are torn apart, they’re abandoned by their families, they end up in poverty and food insecurity, and sometimes they die, occasionally from the disease itself, more often from suicide. As terrible as this litany is, nothing has brought home to me the dangers of prejudice against those who are chronically ill like the new Netflix documentary series “Afflicted.” (Julie Rehmeyer, 9/18)
Texans Want To Expand Medicaid. Politicians Don’t.
Most Republican politicians in Texas, from Gov. Greg Abbott on down, have vehemently opposed any expansion of Medicaid even though the federal government would pay 90 percent of the cost. They grandstand as if their recalcitrance is fueled by public will, but the TMC poll showed 60 percent of Texans think the state would be healthier if more people had Medicaid insurance. They’re right. An additional 1.2 million of Texans would have health insurance if the state’s program were expanded under the Affordable Care Act. That includes nearly 625,000 Texans who can’t afford to buy private health insurance but make too much to qualify for Medicaid under the state’s current eligibility rules. (9/14)