- President Trump has promised a major announcement and action on the opioid abuse crisis in the coming days. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that almost 2 million Americans abuse or are addicted to opioids and says that “from 1999 to 2015, more than 183,000 people have died in the U.S. from overdoses related to prescription opioids.” That’s a quadrupling of the death rate from these prescription drugs since 1999.
- A US study suggests that teens who vape, or use e-cigarettes, may be more likely to develop a regular smoking habit when the liquid they use in their vaping devices has higher concentrations of nicotine. The adolescents who started out using e-liquid with high nicotine levels were more than twice as likely to regularly smoke traditional cigarettes by the end of the study as vapers who used nicotine-free liquid.
- Dr. Betty Price, the wife of the former federal Health and Human Services secretary Tom Price was asked about legality of quarantining HIV patients to stop the spread of the virus that causes AIDS. The quarantining of people with HIV has not been a matter of serious discussion since the height of the AIDS epidemic in the 1980’s.
News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 25th of October 2017. Read by Tabetha Moreto. Health News
President Trump has promised a major announcement and action on the opioid abuse crisis in the coming days – welcome news to deal with a growing and deadly problem. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that almost two million Americans abuse or are addicted to opioids and says that “from nineteen ninety nine to two thousand fifteen, more than one hundred eighty three thousand people have died in the U.S. from overdoses related to prescription opioids.” Even before the president’s upcoming announcement, his administration has begun taking action. Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Scott Gottlieb is revising the rules for approval and removal of opioids from circulation, and enhancing and expanding health care provider opioid education to include nurses and pharmacists. Attorney General Jeff Sessions is identifying and prosecuting prescription mills that facilitate dependencies and addiction.
An important step in combating the opioid epidemic is to cut the skyrocketing growth of opioid prescriptions. About thirty eight percent of the adult U.S. population, amounting to nearly ninety two million people, took opioids they were prescribed in two thousand fifteen, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health has found. The best way to do deal with the epidemic is to address the sources of pain, rather than just managing the symptoms with opioids. The vast majority of opioid abuse and addiction cases begin with doctors and other health care providers offering relief from pain. Opioids provide the relief, but not by addressing the pain. Instead, the drugs induce a numbed and euphoric state in which suffering is temporarily masked. However, short-term relief can lead to increased future pain if the underlying source of pain is not healed. And the pills put patients – and everyone with access to their medicine cabinets – at risk of dependence.
A US study suggests that teens who vape, or use e-cigarettes, may be more likely to develop a regular smoking habit when the liquid they use in their vaping devices has higher concentrations of nicotine. Some previous research has found adolescents who try e-cigarettes may be more likely to transition to traditional cigarettes than their peers who haven’t used the devices. The current study focused on teens who reported vaping recently to see if the amount of nicotine in their “e-liquid” influenced their use of e-cigarettes and traditional cigarettes over the next six months.
The adolescents who started out using e-liquid with high nicotine levels were more than twice as likely to regularly smoke traditional cigarettes by the end of the study as vapers who used nicotine-free liquid, researchers report in JAMA Pediatrics. High nicotine liquid in e-cigarettes was also associated with sixty five percent higher odds that teens would develop a regular vaping habit.
For the current study, researchers examined data on one hundred eighty one students from high schools in the Los Angeles area who were surveyed once during tenth grade and again in eleventh grade. All of the participants had vaped at least once in the past thirty days when they were initially surveyed. They reported nicotine concentrations for their e-liquid, ranging from none to as high at least eighteen milligrams per milliliter. Beyond its small size, another limitation of the study is its reliance on youth to accurately recall and report on what was in their e-cigarettes and how often they vaped or smoked, the authors note. It’s also possible that factors not measured in the study might influence whether teens developed more regular vaping or smoking habits over time.
A Georgia state representative — who is also an anesthesiologist and the wife of the former federal Health and Human Services secretary — asked at a public hearing Tuesday about the legality of quarantining HIV patients to stop the spread of the virus that causes AIDS. “What are we legally able to do?” Doctor Betty Price, a Republican, asked Doctor Pascale Wortley, director of the HIV/AIDS Epidemiology Surveillance Section at the Georgia Department of Public Health. “I don’t want to say the ‘quarantine’ word, but I guess I just said it. … What would you advise, or are there any methods, legally, that we could do that would curtail the spread?”
Price, whose husband, Doctor Tom Price, resigned last month from President Donald Trump’s Cabinet, raised the issue during a committee meeting. “It just seems to me it’s almost frightening the number of people who are living that are potentially carriers — well, they are carriers — but, potential to spread,” Betty Price said. An estimated one point one million people in the United States were living with HIV at the end of two thousand fourteen, the most recent year for which this information is available, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Wortley did not directly address Price’s question about quarantine, pivoting instead to describing the state’s programs for identifying and tracking HIV patients. The quarantining of people with HIV has not been a matter of serious discussion since the height of the AIDS epidemic in the nineteen eighties. At that time, about half of respondents to a poll by the Los Angeles Times found said AIDS should be added to the list of infectious diseases that require quarantine.
The Georgia Department of Public Health, on behalf of Wortley, declined to comment.