Unable To Arrest Opioid Epidemic, Red States Warm To Needle Exchanges

KHN, 14 June 2017
Author: Shefali Luthra
“A coalition — composed of public health advocates, former addicts and the law enforcement officers who used to harass and arrest them — bent on battling sky-high rates of opioid abuse. With the goal of curbing the spread of disease and preventing overdose, the North Carolina Harm Reduction Coalition (NCHRC) has helped legalize needle exchanges, enabled safe disposal of used syringes and enacted protections for people who carry drug paraphernalia. The shift is at odds with national rhetoric. U.S. Attorney General has instructed his state counterparts to take a hard line in the war on drugs, encouraging arrest and jail time for relatively low-level infractions. But even some of the most conservative corners of the country are moving in the other direction.”
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FDA Puts Brakes on Rule Requiring New ‘Nutrition Facts’ Label

MedicineNet, 13 June 2017
Author: E.J. Mundell
“The U.S. Food and Drug Administration on Tuesday announced that the launch of an updated “nutrition facts” panel on foods, developed during the Obama administration, will now be delayed. The deadline for which the food industry must comply with the new labeling will be pushed back for an undisclosed time. the revamped label would make information on calorie counts more prominent, make serving sizes easier to understand, and point to the amount of added sugars a food or drink contains.”
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Breast cancer drug that can extend lives approved for NHS use

The Guardian, 15 June 2017
Source: Press Association
“A drug that can extend the lives of women with advanced breast cancer has been approved for routine use on the NHS. A deal has been struck between NHS England and the manufacturer Roche, backed by Nice, to make the drug available to around 1,200 women a year in England. Until now, the drug has been funded only through the cancer drugs fund. In clinical trials, Kadcyla, which has a full list price of £90,000 a year per patient, was shown to extend the lives of people with terminal cancer by an average of six months. It also dramatically improves quality of life and reduces side effects.”
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Aspirin increases bleeding risk in older stroke patients: study

MedicalXpress, 14 June 2017
Source: The Lancet
“Long-term, daily use of aspirin to prevent blood clots in very elderly patients leads to an increased risk of serious or fatal internal bleeding, researchers said Wednesday. Heartburn medication would allows people 75 years and older to keep the preventative benefits of aspirin while avoiding its dangerous side-effects. Even among people with no history of heart problems or stroke, the risk of gastrointestinal bleeding goes up with age for aspirin users.”
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Physicians recognize new psychoactive substances as health threat

AMA, 12 June 2017
Author: Sara Berg
“New psychoactive substances (NPS) are quickly emerging, transient and difficult to track. While some coordinated public health responses have been used to combat NPS outbreaks, most strategies and solutions remain disconnected, lacking necessary information and data sharing capability. With the eruption of both illicit and synthetic drugs, as well as a lack of regulation, physicians are also searching for further education to aid in treating patients. Delegates at the 2017 AMA Annual Meeting voted to support multifaceted, multiagency approaches to combat NPS.”
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Public feedback sought on tighter laws to govern tobacco use

Straits Times, 12 June 2017
Author: Linette Lai
“The Health Ministry (MOH) is asking for feedback on its proposals to raise the minimum legal age for smoking from 18 to 21, and tighten laws governing the use of imitation tobacco products such as e-cigarettes. These changes will take the form of amendments to the Tobacco (Control of Advertisements and Sale) Act, which was last modified in 2016 to introduce the ban on displaying tobacco products within sight of customers. Apart from preventing people aged 18 to 20 from buying tobacco products, the proposed changes would also make it more difficult for young people to get cigarettes from their peers.”
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Polio outbreaks in DRC set back global efforts to eradicate the disease

The Guardian, 15 June 2017
Author: Ruth Maclean
“Two separate outbreaks of polio in the Democratic Republic of the Congo have set back global efforts to eradicate the debilitating disease. The World Health Organisation last week said the virus had also come back in Syria. But the known cases could be just the tip of the iceberg: for every case of polio that is diagnosed, epidemiologists say there are 200 “silent infections” – people who have no symptoms but can pass the disease on to others.”
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Health and Public Policy to Facilitate Effective Prevention and Treatment of Substance Use Disorders Involving Illicit and Prescription Drugs: An American College of Physicians Position Paper

Ann Intern Med. 2017;166(10):733-736.
Authors: Ryan Crowley, Neil Kirschner, Andrew S. Dunn, Sue S. Bornstein
“Substance use disorders involving illicit and prescription drugs are a serious public health issue. In the United States, millions of individuals need treatment for substance use disorders but few receive it. The rising number of drug overdose deaths and the changing legal status of marijuana pose new challenges. In this position paper, the American College of Physicians maintains that substance use disorder is a treatable chronic medical condition and offers recommendations on expanding treatment options, the legal status of marijuana, addressing the opioid epidemic, insurance coverage of substance use disorders treatment, education and workforce, and public health interventions.”
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Italy has introduced mandatory vaccinations and other countries should follow its lead

The Conversation, 2 June 2017
Author: Alberto Giubilini
“Parents will have to provide proof of vaccination when they enrol their children in nursery or preschool. In this respect, the Italian policy follows the example of vaccination policies in the US. But there’s one crucial difference: the Italian law doesn’t allow parents to opt out on the grounds of ‘conscientious objection’.”
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Indonesia tobacco bill would open tap for ads aimed at kids, health official says

Reuters, 1 June 2017
Author: Eveline Danubrata and Stefanno Reinard
“A proposed Indonesian tobacco law will roll back regulations to discourage smoking in a country that already has one of the highest smoking rates in the world and open the floodgates to advertising aimed at teenagers, a health ministry official said. If the bill initiated by the parliament is passed, companies will no longer have to put grim pictures on cigarette packs of lung cancer or other diseases linked to smoking. School and playground areas would be designated as “no- cigarette-smoke zones” instead of “no-cigarette zones”, which would allow cigarettes to be sold or displayed there.”
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