Latest Morning Briefing Stories

Purity, Potency Of Illegal Drugs Have Reached New Levels, Worrying Health Officials

KHN Morning Briefing

The problem is that users aren’t expecting the higher strength drugs and are overdosing because of the increased potency of them. In other news on the crisis: addiction treatment, patients with chronic pain who desperately need opioids, an interview with the U.S. surgeon general, and opioid prescription practices.

A Snapshot Of Those In The Trenches Of America’s Addiction Crisis

KHN Morning Briefing

The Associated Press puts human faces to the numbers behind the opioid epidemic. In other news, a look at how influence in Washington, D.C., has played a role in the crisis, Purdue wants to settle lawsuits with states, counterfeit pills are sending droves of people to the hospital, why medication-assisted treatment is hard for some to get, and more.

Canceled Appointments And Lengthy Wait Times Still Occurring At VA Medical Centers

KHN Morning Briefing

The Department of Veterans Affairs’ internal watchdog issues two reports, finding continued issues with the agency’s mental health care services and wait times at a clinic. And news of more problems is reported from Georgia and Colorado facilities. Meanwhile, an advocacy group runs ads critical of the VA’s use of dogs in experiments.

Putting A Dollar Value On An Epidemic: Opioid Crisis Has Cost Economy $95B In 2016 Alone

KHN Morning Briefing

The vast majority of the economic burden — $43.2 billion — came from losses in the workforce due to deaths from opioids, the analysis found. Meanwhile, another study found that about 10 percent of Americans have overcome a drug or alcohol problem in their lives, which might mean there’s good news for treating addiction.

Profit-Mining The Opioid Crisis: Treatment Facilities Target Union Workers For Their Generous Benefits

KHN Morning Briefing

A Stat and Boston Globe investigation found that these workers are bused into these facilities and can be cut off from their family and friends. “I felt like a prisoner,” said Michael Barone, a special education aide in a New Jersey public school. In other news: scientists try to find ways to combat chronic pain without opioids; experts are trying to figure out how people with chronic pain can be treated with opioids but avoid addiction; and more.

Mental Illness Becomes Scapegoat After Mass Shootings, But The Truth Is Far More Nuanced, Experts Say

KHN Morning Briefing

Saying mental illness is to blame for mass violence incidents not only misses the complexities at the root of the motivation, but also besmirches millions of non-violent mentally ill people, experts say in the wake of the Texas shooting which left 26 dead. President Donald Trump said the shooting was a “mental health” problem and not a “guns situation.”