Latest Morning Briefing Stories
More than 88,000 Americans die each year, a number that has more than doubled since 1999, as a result of excessive drinking. That figure is higher than opioid-related deaths, according to the CDC. In other public health news, lawmakers express worries about an increase of cocaine overdoses.
Rep. Kathleen Rice (D-N.Y.) questioned officials at a House Homeland Security Subcommittee on Border Security, Facilitation and Operations hearing about the administration’s efforts to prevent child deaths while in U.S. custody.
“The list reflects a deep concern that leaders are not investing enough resources in core health priorities & systems, putting lives & economies in jeopardy,” WHO Director-General Dr. Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus tweeted. Public health news is on China’s coronavirus, heart disease, exercise and health, weight loss, postpartum depression, X-ray protection, and home-care workers, as well.
A legal battle for information waged by The Washington Post and the company that owns the Charleston Gazette-Mail reveals the sheer scope of the opioid crisis in the country. “In excess of 100 billion pills is simply jaw-dropping,” said Peter J. Mougey, a lawyer who helped the newspapers obtain the data. The newly released data, which traces the path of pills from manufacturers and distributors to pharmacies across the country, confirms again that six companies distributed the vast majority of the pain pills.
Back in September, the Trump administration said it needed to ensure financial safeguards were put in place in light of recent political unrest on the island. The delay in funding incensed Democrats and other critics as Puerto Rico continues to struggle in the aftermath of multiple natural disasters.
Although the domestic agenda was somewhat anchored by discussion of health care, the topic didn’t take center stage like at previous debates. Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) focused on the cost of the status quo while moderates like Sen. Amy Klobuchar (D-Minn.) made the argument that debating “Medicare for All” is a pointless since many in Congress don’t support it.
Media outlets report on news from Virginia, Oregon, Maryland, Kansas, Ohio, Massachusetts, Minnesota, Florida, Texas, Missouri, Iowa, Connecticut and Wisconsin.
Housing and Urban Development Secretary Ben Carson has been working with Mayor Eric Garcetti to address the city’s homeless crisis despite public tension over the issue. But the administration says that if Los Angeles accepts federal help, it will need to change the way it handles the problem. Carson’s hints were somewhat vague, but they included a directive to move toward “empowering and utilizing local law enforcement.” Meanwhile, voters might get a chance to legally demand cities reduce homeless population.
Some scientists argue that dealing with air pollutants like heavy dust even before the advent of manufacturing and cars could have shaped how humans evolved to be immune or susceptible to its negatives health effects. Other environmental health news looks at drinking water, temperatures and injuries, and lead.
“In a given individual, some systems age faster or slower than others,” said biologist Michael Snyder, who led the study. “One person is a cardio-ager, another is a metabolic ager, another is an immune ager.” In other public health news: 9/11 responders and cancer, the spread of China’s pneumonia-like virus, dry January, genetic testing and more.
Oklahoma Attorney General Mike Hunter last year won a court verdict against opioid manufacturer Johnson & Johnson and has now filed suit Monday against three mammoth drug distributors, accusing them of contributing to the drug crisis by indiscriminately sending billions of painkillers across the country. It’s just the latest lawsuit that the distributors have to contend with as states and counties take their efforts against the crisis into the courts.
The judges seemed skeptical of the Trump administration’s arguments that Congress implicitly gave HHS authority to require list price disclosure to ensure the “efficient administration” of Medicaid and Medicare. In other pharmaceutical news: drugmakers are testing new ways to pay for pricey treatments, the high cost of medicine is making patients forgo care, and more.
Only medical exemptions would have been permitted at most schools and day care centers. While similar bills have passed in four states, the New Jersey lawmakers couldn’t gather enough support after tweaking the bill and raising concerns.
The company’s internal database logged nearly 1.3 million general complaints from both adults and youth from June 1, 2015, when Juul launched its product, to Sept. 26, 2018. In other vaping news: Democrats criticize the Trump administration’s menthol exception in its flavor ban, New Jersey lawmakers pass their own ban, and a judge strikes down New York’s.
The Trump administration’s request came after a three-judge appeals panel last week kept in place a nationwide injunction entered by a federal district judge in New York. Two similar injunctions were lifted last month. Meanwhile, a federal judge in California issues a ruling reaffirming immigration officials’ discretion when it comes to separating children from their parents at the border.
West Virginia has already adopted work requirements for its food stamp program and can act as a bellwether of what to expect as the Trump administration implements the policy nationwide. Like with other safety net programs, however, it’s very rarely a lack of will that stops people from working while on benefits, but rather the reality of being poor in America. So the requirements do little other than force people to find charity programs to help.
Media outlets report on news from Oregon, New Hampshire, Massachusetts, District of Columbia, Georgia, Virginia, Pennsylvania, Louisiana, Connecticut, Mississippi, California, Minneapolis and Tennessee.
The strain of virus is related to SARS, which caused an outbreak years ago that still has public health experts waiting for the next one. Officials announced the first death from the current outbreak of the pneumonia-like disease.
The news is actually more nuanced than it may have seemed last week. And much is riding on how the results are interpreted. In other public health news: “forever chemicals,” race and medicine, genetic sequencing of measles, sickle cell disease, maternal deaths, and more.
As part of his proposed budget, Gov. Gavin Newsom wants to give money aimed at curbing the homeless crisis directly to service providers rather than funneling it through cities and counties. “More money is not going to solve this alone,” Newsom said. “We need real accountability and transparency.” Other news from state legislatures comes out of New Jersey, Virginia, Florida and Washington.