Viewpoints: People In Serious Pain Are Latest Victims Of Opioid Crisis; Statins Can’t Do It Alone. Doctors Need To Be Asking Patients More Questions.
Editorial pages focus on these health issues and others.
Los Angeles Times:
One Of Us Was A Pain Patient Saved By Opioids, The Other Was An Addict. We Both Deserve A Solution
Opioids have figured prominently in both our lives. For Kate, they were a lifeline after a surgical mishap left her unable to sit, stand or walk for more than a decade. For Ryan, they were a gateway to a dark decade of heroin addiction. With overdose deaths at record highs, many Americans believe that we have over-treated pain at the expense of those who became addicted to prescription opioids. Increasingly, the media and politicians all but deny that pain exists, highlighting the blight of addiction and doing precious little to address either. (Ryan Hampton and Kate M. Nicholson, 4/3)
Preventing Heart Disease Requires More Than Medicine
Most of the ways we can extend our lives have little to do with pills or even with the health care system. High school dropouts, for example, have average life expectancies about a dozen years shorter than individuals with advanced degrees. A landmark study that linked IRS tax records to death records from the Social Security Administration found that men in the top 1% of income live 14.6 years longer than those in the lowest 1%. For women the difference was 10.1 years. And the effects of income on life expectancy systematically increased between 2001 and 2014.Perhaps such indicators are why guidance from the American Heart Association and the American College of Cardiology was recently revised to place much stronger emphasis on lifestyle and social determinants of health. (Robert M. Kaplan, 4/3)
If E-Cigarettes Help Smokers Quit, Treat Them As Any Other Prescription Medicine
So, here’s a suggestion. If these products are meant to shift cigarette smokers away from their habit, and if that is where their value lies, then let FDA evaluate their effectiveness as a smoking cessation device for smokers. If they prove to be effective, make e-cigarettes available by prescription only. A recent trial in the U.K. found that e-cigarettes were about as effective as medications such Chantix in helping smokers to quit. But even this evidence suggests that if it is an effective cessation device, it should only be available by prescription for those addicted to cigarettes. (Dan Romer, 4/2)
The Wall Street Journal:
If You Like Socialism, You’ll Love The VA
Socialism is in the air—a green, wired, mindful, glossy-lipped movement that’s going to usher in free college, free health care and heavily followed Instagram accounts for all. It’s presented as new and futuristic, but there’s no need to reinvent the wheel. In one corner of Washington, socialism has been a living, breathing reality for decades. Just go visit the Department of Veterans Affairs. Draw a military paycheck for a few years, and you’re entitled to cradle-to-grave support for you and family members. Health care at any of more than 1,200 sites. Housing guarantees. Up to 100% of college costs. Special unemployment checks. Life insurance. Nursing-home care. Uncle Sam will literally bury you. This is the socialist dream. But there’s trouble in VA paradise. (Karl Zinsmeister, 4/2)
Los Angeles Times:
You Don't Have To Live Close To Wildfires For Them To Kill You
For nearly two weeks last November, smoke from the Camp fire drained 150 miles down the Central Valley and out toward the sea, engulfing Sacramento and the whole Bay Area. San Francisco looked — and breathed — like New Delhi, the world’s most polluted city. Miles away in the mountain town of Paradise, the fast-moving conflagration killed 85 people — making the Camp fire the deadliest wildfire in state history. But pollution research suggests that once heart attacks and respiratory-related deaths are factored in, its soot was even more deadly than its flames. (David Fairley and Peter Fairley, 4/3)