Viewpoints: Lessons On How Needle Exchanges Enhance Public Health; Are Adversities Taking A Toll On Mental Health Of Young Black Americans?
Editorial pages focus on these health care topics and others.
More People Than Ever Are Dying From Opioid Overdoses. But Not In Miami-Dade.
Recent Florida Department of Law Enforcement data found that overdose deaths declined in Miami-Dade County last year, bucking a multiyear surge in local, state and national opioid mortality. Miami-Dade has a unique benefit as home to the state’s first and only needle exchange program. (Kasha Bornstein, Austin Coye and Henri Ford, 12/10)
Black Children Are Suffering Higher Rates Of Depression And Anxiety. What’s Going On?
The rates of anxiety, depression, and behavior disorders among black children doubled over the course of several decades, with prevalence rates among black Americans topping those of whites, found a recent study in the Journal of Epidemiology. Previous research examining racial differences in rates of psychiatric disorders have typically found that black Americans show lower rates than whites, despite experiencing higher rates of social adversity and stressors. The new study suggests that this may be changing for younger black Americans, at least with regard to psychiatric disorders that have their onset in childhood. (Katherine K. Dahlsgaard, 12/11)
The Military Pushed It. The FDA Went Along. Is The Newest Opioid Any Better?
In the midst of a national opioid crisis, how badly do we need another formidable painkiller? This vexing question has been widely debated since the Food and Drug Administration set off a furor last month when it approved Dsuvia, a tablet version of a decades-old intravenous painkiller that is up to 10 times more potent than the highly addictive fentanyl. Critics argued that alternatives exists and that such a powerful opioid could easily be abused by being diverted, despite a prohibition on retail pharmacy sales. But the endorsement was championed by the military, which maintains that such a medicine is needed in combat zones. (Ed Silverman, 12/11)
Your Brain Hates The Flu Shot. Get One Anyway
If humans were perfectly logical creatures, we’d all get flu shots. They are easy to find, usually free, and undeniably effective. In the 2016-2017 flu season alone, they prevented an estimated 5.3 million cases of the flu. Yet less than half of Americans get the shot, proof positive of the enduring irrationality of our species. Some of that gap is due to misinformation. But rejection of the flu shot is about more than just celebrity retweets of bad science about vaccines in general. In many ways, the flu shot violates our understanding of how medicine works in ways that tickle the irrational parts of our brains. (Matt Wallaert, 12/12)
The Washington Post:
Why A Lousy Dispute Between Two Health-Care Giants Could Cost Americans
Bloomberg News reported Friday that UnitedHealthcare, the country’s biggest health insurer, is in a contract dispute with Envision Healthcare, which employs “25,000 emergency doctors, anesthesiologists and other hospital-based clinicians.” If the two companies cannot agree on a contract by the end of the year, that would make the medical group’s 25,000 hospital-based medical providers out-of-network for millions of people who receive coverage from the insurance giant. The likely result? “A flood of surprise medical bills” for all too many Americans in early 2019. And Happy New Year to you, too! (Helaine Olen, 12/11)
The Washington Post:
When It Comes To Helping Our Soldiers, Talk Is Cheap
“Wouldn’t it have been nice if we got Osama bin Laden a lot sooner?” President Trump mused last month. With that conjecture about the leadership of Admiral William McRaven, whom he succinctly dismissed as a “Hillary Clinton fan” and “Obama backer,” Trump provoked yet another scandal about presidential comportment. Of course, it’s hardly news that Trump criticized someone seemingly unassailable; indeed, his swipe at Chief Justice John Roberts three days later largely displaced the McRaven story. (Rebecca A. Adelman, 12/11)
The New York Times:
Reading Tea Leaves On Abortion Rights
When the Supreme Court declined on Monday to hear cases brought by Louisiana and Kansas attempting to exclude Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers from their Medicaid programs, legal soothsayers were out in full force opining about what it means for the future of abortion rights under the newly constituted court. (Louise Melling, 12/11)
The Washington Post:
Support The Forgotten Adolescents Who ‘Age Out’ Of Foster Care
Being removed from a family home and placed in foster care is one of the most wrenching events a child can experience, even when it’s absolutely necessary. Unfortunately, the number of children in foster care in the United States grew by 10 percent between fiscal 2012 and fiscal 2016, reaching more than 437,000 in the latter year, according to the Department of Health and Human Services. This rate of increase exceeded overall population growth for the period. A main factor, according to officials, is parental drug abuse due to the opioid epidemic. (12/11)
Virginia Is Failing Its Foster Care Children
The study of the Virginia Department of Social Services’ foster care and adoption services essentially charges the state with failing to properly monitor its 120 local foster care programs and to adhere to federal and state requirements. As result, the safety and well-being of children in its care are at risk. (12/11)
Tampa Bay Times:
Johns Hopkins All Children’s Resignations First Step Toward Restoring Trust
The resignations of the CEO of Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital and two other hospital administrators Tuesday is the first meaningful step toward restoring the community’s trust in the venerable institution. The next step should be a thorough public accounting of the factors that contributed to a surge in the death rate of patients in the St. Petersburg hospital’s pediatric heart surgery unit -- and of why the safety concerns were not addressed in a more aggressive, transparent manner. (12/11)