A report issued by President Trump’s opioid commission recommends improving access to treatment and adding more drug courts that focus on treatment rather than incarceration, but does not include a way to fund these and other steps it recommends, according to Politico. “While the panel acknowledges that lack of funding is the main barrier to implementation, it doesn't lay out a figure, project how long money will be needed or where it should come from,” Brianna Ehley and Sarah Karlin-Smith report. The report comes a week after the President declared the opioid epidemic a public health emergency, a move that also called for heightened measures to address the problem but did not include provisions to adequately fund the effort. Some argue it’s up to Congress to address the funding questions.
This week, the Sacramento Bee ran an op-ed by Pi’s Lisa Fujie Parks and Prevent Connect’s David S. Lee on increased media attention to incidents of sexual violence, and the opportunity it presents for practitioners and leaders to implement programs and policy to prevent harassment in the first place: “As individuals who have been working on sexual violence prevention for years, we see this as a moment of opportunity. We are in a better place today because of those who have come forward. For this, we especially thank women who work in low-wage service industries, as custodians, food system workers, and domestic workers, who have long advocated to change the conditions that leave workers vulnerable to sexual assault and harassment on the job. Now we need to seize the moment to move our political, corporate, and community leaders toward action.”
Farah Mohamed of the Malala Fund wrote an op-ed for Quartz extolling the benefits of all girls receiving a full 12 years of schooling as “the best investment we can make to grow economies, improve the air we breathe, reduce the risk of violent conflict and advance public health… Here are the facts: If all girls went to school for 12 years, low- and middle-income countries could add $92 billion per year to their economies. Educated girls are less likely to marry young or contract HIV—and more likely to have healthy, educated children. The Brookings Institution calls secondary schooling for girls the best and most cost-effective investment against climate change. When a country gives all its children secondary education, it cuts its risk of war in half.”
Researchers studying Flint’s lead crisis have uncovered a high number of fetal deaths (up by 58%) and lower number of pregnancies (down by 12%) since the city switched over to a contaminated water supply in April 2014. “There have been far too many miscarriages to count,” local activist Melissa Mays told Rewire. “It’s sad because we have no idea what the heavy metals, carcinogenic byproducts, bacteria and whatever else we have been, and are still being, exposed to has done to our bodies. Will our sons have low sperm counts? How many young girls will not be able to become mothers because their eggs are poisoned? We just don’t know, and the State of Michigan just wants to sweep it all under the rug like it’s all in the past.”
Amid the concern and accompanying emergency declaration regarding opioid misuse, Vox’s German Lopez notes the lack of similar responses around tobacco and alcohol, the first- and third- leading causes of preventable deaths in the US, respectively. Even when funds become available to address the problem, as they have as a result of tobacco litigation, he writes, they sometimes get misdirected to address other issues, even when we have effective options at hand, from raising the legal age for smoking to increasing access to safer alternatives, like nicotine gum.
Much of the discussion of opioid misuse overlooks the disproportionate effect it has had on Native Americans, who according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) are dying as a result of drugs and alcohol at two and three times the rate of African Americans and Latinos, The Washington Post Reports. In 2014, the rate of deaths from opioid overdose among Native Americans was 8.4 per 100,000 people, compared to a rate of 7.9 for whites and 3.3 for African Americans. Citing a Pew Charitable Trusts report, the Post states: “The reasons behind opioid addiction in Native American communities are vast, but intergenerational trauma related to systemic racism is one of them.”
College athletes have limited access to supports to help them cope with the pressures of their intense athletic and academic commitments, according to a feature in The Ringer. Julie Kliegman writes that the counselors generally available to students often do not understand the stressors that elite athletes face. The article reports a recent book by ESPN reporter Kate Fagan investigates the issue in What Made Maddy Run, the story Madison Holleran, a track runner and soccer player who died by suicide her freshman year at the University of Pennsylvania.
Beauty pageant contestants in Peru, when asked to cite their measurements, instead cited statistics about violence against women in their country: “’My name is Camila Canicoba and I represent the department of Lima. My measurements are: 2,202 cases of femicide reported in the last nine years in my country,’ said the first. ‘My name is Karen Cueto and I represent Lima and my measurements are: 82 femicides and 156 attempted femicides so far this year,’ said the second."
The House of Representatives narrowly passed the Championing Healthy Kids Act on Friday morning. This bill would fund the reauthorization of the Children’s Health Insurance Program and community health centers by drawing down over $6 billion from the Prevention and Public Health Fund.