US News and World Report investigates the links between experiencing harassment on the basis of race, ethnicity, immigration status or national origin and risky health behaviors: “Across California during the 2017-2018 school year, 14% of public high school students said they'd experienced bullying or harassment because of their race, ethnicity or national origin in the past 12 months, a U.S. News analysis of data from the California Healthy Kids Survey shows… Students in California public high schools who said they'd been bullied because of their race, ethnicity, or national origin were twice as likely to have smoked cigarettes, the analysis shows. Alcohol consumption also was higher – 40% among students who had suffered this bias-related bullying, compared with 29% among those who had not – as were reported usage rates for marijuana, cocaine and heroin, and for prescription opioids, sedatives or tranquilizers… More than 395,000 students in ninth through 12th grade took the survey for the 2017-2018 school year. Nearly 53,000 said they'd experienced bullying because of their race, ethnicity or national origin in the past 12 months; about 24,000 students left the question blank. Black students were most likely to experience this type of bias-related bullying, according to the analysis, with more than 1 in 5 reporting that it happened to them. Nearly 70% of those students said it happened more than once, also more than any other racial or ethnic group… Virginia Huynh, an associate professor in the Department of Child and Adolescent Development at California State University–Northridge, says "prolonged, chronic exposure to discrimination" in adolescence creates greater risk for conditions such as cardiovascular disease and cancer later in life, as its consequences may lead to a biological response and behaviors that can exact a heavy toll on a person's health.”
A new study by the ALICE Project finds that nearly 51 million households in the US struggle to afford housing, food, child care, healthcare, transportation, and cellular access. “The figure includes the 16.1 million households living in poverty, as well as the 34.7 million families that the United Way has dubbed ALICE -- Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed. This group makes less than what's needed ‘to survive in the modern economy…’ California, New Mexico and Hawaii have the largest share of struggling families, at 49% each. North Dakota has the lowest at 32%... Many of these folks are the nation's child care workers, home health aides, office assistants and store clerks, who work low-paying jobs and have little savings, the study noted.”
A new report from the Haas Institute for a Fair and Inclusive Society finds that the San Francisco Bay Area is more segregated today than it was nearly 50 years ago. The Institute also launched new interactive maps to track segregation over time. The interactive map can be accessed here, and the accompanying web report is available here.
President Trump signed a memorandum calling on government agencies to enforce a 23-year-old law that requires US citizen sponsors of green-card holders to reimburse the government for welfare benefits. USA Today reports that “Criics have said that such moves unfairly punish low-income immigrants, who sometimes need assistance to get started in the U.S. But the White House counters that too many immigrants take advantage of U.S. generosity, pointing out that 58% of all households headed by a non-citizen use at least one welfare program.”
Yesterday, the California State Assembly passed AB656, which would create a statewide Office of Healthy and Safe Communities. The bill now moves to the California Senate and a budget to fund the office needs to be allocated. The office would be overseen by the California Surgeon General and tasked with developing, implementing, and tracking a statewide plan to prevent violence and promote safety, healing, and racial equity through community-based approaches.
The United States Geological Survey, which assesses the potential impacts of climate change, will no longer project the impacts of climate change to the year 2100, instead stopping at the year 2040. The New York Times reports, “scientists say that would give a misleading picture because the biggest effects of current emissions will be felt after 2040. Models show that the planet will most likely warm at about the same rate through about 2050. From that point until the end of the century, however, the rate of warming differs significantly with an increase or decrease in carbon emissions… The administration’s prime target has been the National Climate Assessment, produced by an interagency task force roughly every four years since 2000. Government scientists used computer-generated models in their most recent report to project that if fossil fuel emissions continue unchecked, the earth’s atmosphere could warm by as much as eight degrees Fahrenheit by the end of the century. That would lead to drastically higher sea levels, more devastating storms and droughts, crop failures, food losses and severe health consequences. Work on the next report, which is expected to be released in 2021 or 2022, has already begun. But from now on, officials said, such worst-case scenario projections will not automatically be included in the National Climate Assessment or in some other scientific reports produced by the government.”
The New York Times reports on the first civil trial against prescription opioid manufacturers: “If Oklahoma is not ground zero for the emergency, it’s “certainly close,” Mr. Hunter said recently during a panel on opioids at the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington. Between 2015 and 2018, he said, there were 18 million opioid prescriptions written in a state with a population of 3.9 million. In a 15-year period, overdose deaths increased 91 percent… Oklahoma, a largely rural state whose medical, social welfare and criminal justice systems have been ravaged by opioid addictions and deaths, has “home court advantage,” Ms. Burch said. But the case is hardly a slam-dunk. The challenge in all opioid cases is how to closely tie each defendant to the carnage. In its attempt to frame that narrative, Oklahoma is relying on just one legal theory, which itself has an uneven record. The theory — that J & J violated public nuisance law — is also being raised in the first federal cases to go to trial in Cleveland, Ohio, currently set for Oct. 21.”
Texas lawmakers passed a state budget that includes $1 million for a public safety campaign on safe gun storage.
Salesforce has implemented a new policy that prohibits businesses that use its sales platform from selling military-style weapons, an approach described by the Washington Post as “bringing software to a gun fight.” “The change in Salesforce’s acceptable-use policy shows how a technology giant that is mostly unknown to the public is trying to influence what retailers in America sell and alter the dynamics of a charged social issue. While Salesforce is hardly a household name, it is a dominant provider of software and services that help businesses manage their customers. With roughly 40,000 employees and a market value of nearly $120 billion, it has become a behemoth in San Francisco. Its branded skyscraper also towers over the city as the tallest building and a major landmark.”
This piece by PI's Christine Williams and Wil Crary, featured in Mental Health America's blog, describes how KVIBE, an instructional bike exchange in Honolulu, supports the mental health and wellbeing of men and boys by addressing community needs like social cohesion, a sense of belonging, and physical activity.