The Health News USA February 16 2018

  • Citing rising opioid fatalities, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton on Wednesday announced a renewed legislative proposal to tax prescription opioid pills to help fund treatment. Minnesota is one of at least 13 states to have considered an opioid tax in recent years to help pay for the fallout from the United States’ opioid epidemic, although none have passed, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.
  • The Food and Drug Administration approved a blood test Wednesday that it says can help diagnose concussions more quickly, without the need for X-rays. The test should save money and reduce a patient’s exposure to radiation, according to the FDA. Concussions are a big problem. Nearly 2.8 million people visited U.S. emergency rooms in 2013 because of concussion or other traumatic brain injuries, according to the CDC.
  • The problem of contaminated drinking water extends far beyond Flint, Michigan.  A study found tens of millions of Americans could be exposed to unsafe drinking water in any given year, consuming a wide spectrum of contaminants, including fecal coliform, lead and arsenic. In2015, nearly 21 million people relied on community water systems that violated health-based quality standards, according to the study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

News on Health Professional Radio. Today is the 16th of February 2018. Read by Tabetha Moreto.

https://www.reuters.com/article/us-minnesota-opioid-tax/minnesota-renews-push-for-tax-on-prescription-opioids-idUSKCN1FY2VR

Citing rising opioid fatalities, Minnesota Governor Mark Dayton on Wednesday announced a renewed legislative proposal to tax prescription opioid pills to help fund treatment. Minnesota is one of at least thirteen states to have considered an opioid tax in recent years to help pay for the fallout from the United States’ opioid epidemic, although none have passed, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures.

Dayton’s proposal would levy a one-cent tax on drugmakers for each milligram of active ingredient in a prescription pain pill, generating an estimated twenty million dollars a year for prevention, policing, emergency response and treatment. Dayton last fall blamed “special corporate interests” for blocking a similar proposal in two thousand seventeen.
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The efforts come as a growing number of states and counties are suing opioid manufacturers to recoup costs of a worsening epidemic. In December, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the U.S. rate of drug overdose deaths in two thousand sixteen grew twenty one percent from the prior year. Minnesota had three hundred ninety five opioid overdose deaths in two thousand sixteen which is an eighteen percent increase over the previous year.

The Pharmaceutical Research and Manufacturers of America, a national trade association, said the proposal could divert money for developing new non-opioid painkillers and medication-assisted addiction treatments.

Dayton’s proposed measure, part of a larger effort to boost treatment, access to overdose medications and enforcement, will be debated in the legislative session starting February twenty.

https://www.nbcnews.com/health/health-news/fda-approves-new-blood-test-detect-concussions-n848131

The Food and Drug Administration approved a blood test Wednesday that it says can help diagnose concussions more quickly, without the need for X-rays. The test should save money and reduce a patient’s exposure to radiation, according to the FDA. Jay Alberts, director of the Cleveland Clinic Concussion Center said: “This test can get you to the final diagnosis faster and very accurately.” With the test, doctors will know which patients need a computed tomography (CT) scan to check for brain damage. CT scans are a type of souped-up X-ray, which cost money and deliver radiation.
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It was a quick approval for the test. The FDA said in a statement: “The FDA reviewed and authorized for marketing the Banyan Brain Trauma Indicator in fewer than six months as part of its Breakthrough Devices Program.” Alberts said it will be most useful in the case of mild head injuries, when there’s doubt about whether someone has a concussion.
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Concussions are a big problem. Nearly two point eight million people visited U.S. emergency rooms in two thousand thirteen because of concussion or other traumatic brain injuries, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. And traumatic brain injuries (TBIs) helped kill nearly fifty thousand people that year. Research shows that even mild head injuries can lead to longer-term brain damage.

https://www.usatoday.com/story/news/health/2018/02/12/tens-millions-americans-exposed-unsafe-drinking-water-each-year/330516002/

The problem of contaminated drinking water extends far beyond Flint, Michigan.  A study found tens of millions of Americans could be exposed to unsafe drinking water in any given year, consuming a wide spectrum of contaminants, including fecal coliform, lead and arsenic.

In two thousand fifteen, nearly twenty one million people relied on community water systems that violated health-based quality standards, according to the study, published Monday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.  It’s the first nationwide assessment of drinking water quality over several decades. The research, led by Maura Allaire, an urban planner at the University of California-Irvine, looked at seventeen thousand nine hundred community water systems from nineteen eighty two to two thousand fifteen. Allaire found the amount of violations varied by year, affecting as many as forty five million people in some years, representing about twenty eight percent of the U.S. population.

Although the majority of the nation’s water supply is in good shape, she said many areas are continually prone to poor water quality. The authors wrote that water quality was particularly poor in Oklahoma, Texas and Idaho, where water systems had repeat violations. The study found violations were less likely to occur in privately owned utilities and in systems that purchase treated water from other utilities.

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