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Latest News Around the Web

Opioid Crisis Fueling Black Market Due To Lack Of Treatment Options

The Wall Street Journal (6/22, King, Subscription Publication) reports that healthcare professionals say that patients who struggle with opioid addiction are increasingly turning to the black market due to a lack of access to treatment options, especially medication-based addiction treatment. Experts are increasingly recommending medication-based treatment, combined with counseling, to treat opioid addiction.

Related Links:

— “Lacking Treatment Options, Opioid Addicts Turn to Black Market,” Kate King, Wall Street Journal, June 22, 2017.

More Than One In Five Kids With Tourette Syndrome May Also Test Positive For Autism

HealthDay (6/22, Preidt) reports, “More than one in five children with Tourette syndrome also tests positive for autism,” investigators found in a study including “535 children and adults with Tourette’s.” It is unlikely, however, that “so many children actually have both disorders.” What appears more likely is that “Tourette’s symptoms often mimic or seem quite similar to those of autism, the researchers noted.” The findings were published in the July issue of the Journal of the American Academy of Child and Adolescent Psychiatry.

Related Links:

— “When is Tourette Syndrome Actually Autism?,” Robert Preidt, HealthDay, June 22, 2017.

ACA Repeal Bill Would Harm People Receiving Addiction Treatment Through Medicaid

The New York Times (6/20, A1, Pear, Steinhauer, Subscription Publication) reports on its front page that growing dissension “among Senate Republicans over federal spending on Medicaid and the opioid epidemic is imperiling legislation to repeal the Affordable Care Act that Senate leaders are trying to put to a vote by the end of next week.” The article says although President Trump urged senators to be more generous in their bill than the House was, on Tuesday, GOP leaders in the Senate “appeared to be drafting legislation that would do even more to slow the growth of Medicaid toward the end of the coming decade.” The piece adds that several lawmakers are warning the current measure would imperil consumers’ access to addiction treatment.

The AP (6/20, Alonso-Zaldivar) reports that the effort to repeal the ACA “is colliding with the opioid epidemic. Medicaid cutbacks would hit hard in states deeply affected by the addiction crisis and struggling to turn the corner, according to state data and concerned lawmakers in both parties.” Figures indicate “Medicaid expansion accounted for 61 percent of total Medicaid spending on substance abuse treatment in Kentucky, 47 percent in West Virginia, 56 percent in Michigan, 59 percent in Maryland, and 31 percent in Rhode Island.” The article adds that during a recent hearing, HHS Secretary Tom Price “defended the Trump administration and raised questions about how much difference Medicaid actually makes.” He explained that HHS’ “budget for the opioid crisis is more than three times greater than two years ago, $811 million versus $245 million,” which “reflects increases approved by Congress beyond what Medicaid spends.”

Related Links:

— “G.O.P. Rift Over Medicaid and Opioids Imperils Senate Health Bill,” ROBERT PEAR and JENNIFER STEINHAUER, New York Times, June 20, 2017.

Opioid Addiction Is “Swamping” Hospitals, Federal Data Show.

The Washington Post (6/20, Achenbach, Keating) reports that the opioid epidemic is “swamping hospitals,” with a report by the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality “showing 1.27 million emergency room visits or inpatient stays for opioid-related issues in a single year.” According to the report, Maryland tops the list for inpatient care due to opioids.

Related Links:

— “In just one year, nearly 1.3 million Americans needed hospital care for opioid-related issues,” Joel Achenbach and Dan Keating, Washington Post, June 20, 2017.

Op-Ed: Changes Needed To Reduce Police Shootings Of People With Mental Illnesses.

In an opinion piece in the New York Times (6/21, A21, Subscription Publication), Phillip Atiba Goff, president of the Center for Policing Equity, and Kim Shayo Buchanan, senior academic writer at that same center, write in wake of the recent Seattle police shooting of Charleena Lyles, a pregnant woman with mental illness, “People with untreated mental illnesses are disproportionately likely to attract police attention.” In particular, “the combination of mental illness, racial segregation and poverty is…likely to result in police contact, often leading to arrest.”

Over the past five decades, however, the US “has seen a stunning decline in resources devoted to public mental health.” Goff and Buchanan conclude, “The cure for these too frequent police-involved shootings must include serious changes within law enforcement” coupled with a recommitment “to changing how we manage mental health if we are to reduce the chances that illness will be treated with gunshots.”

Related Links:

— “Charleena Lyles Needed Health Care. Instead, She Was Killed.,” PHILLIP ATIBA GOFF and KIM SHAYO BUCHANAN, New York Times, June 20, 2017.

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