The Problem: Tobacco use is a source of chronic and fatal illnesses for users and people exposed to tobacco smoke. Second-hand smoke exposure contributes to 41,000 deaths among non-smoking adults, and 400 infants annually. Second-hand exposure can lead to stroke, lung cancer and coronary heart disease. Children exposed to second-hand smoke are at increased risk for slowed lung growth, asthma, acute respiratory infections, middle ear infections and sudden infant death syndrome.
Center for Public Health Initiatives, University of Pennsylvania
Corey Davis, JD, MSPH •
University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
Leo Beletsky, JD, MPH •
Health in Justice Action Lab
A new Perspective article in the New England Journal of Medicine examines a recent decision by a Philadelphia judge to reject the argument that an overdose prevention site, called Safehouse, would violate the Controlled Substances Act.
The decision signals a move toward an approach to regulating drugs that minimizes both the harms of drugs and the harms caused by regulation itself – worthy goals all around, the authors write.
Tobacco use remains a leading cause of preventable death in the United States, known to cause cancer and other harmful health conditions, including, but not limited to, respiratory and cardiovascular disease. Implementing evidence-based policies that reduce smoking and tobacco consumption can decrease tobacco-related illnesses and death. One of the most effective strategies to decrease tobacco use is to raise the price of tobacco products, something which state governments can accomplish by establishing specific taxes and pricing limits for tobacco products.
Across the country, a rise in the misuse of injectable opioids and heroin means more people are at higher risk of contracting infectious diseases from using contaminated syringes. Sharing syringes provides a direct route of transmission for blood-borne diseases such as the hepatitis C virus (HCV), hepatitis B virus (HBV), and human immunodeficiency virus (HIV). Symptoms may not appear for years, meaning individuals who inject drugs may share needles and unknowingly spread diseases to others.
This legal map presents statutes and regulations that authorize the involuntary commitment of substance users, in effect as of March 1, 2018. It catalogs the statutory standards authorizing commitment, parties authorized to petition for a commitment, provisions surrounding clinical assessments, parameters of judicial review, time periods for commitment authorization, allowable treatment, and procedures for recommitment.
So far, it looks as if law has reduced the damage but not turned back the tide in the opioid epidemic. Given that most states now have adopted some version of Good Samaritan, naloxone access, and PDMP laws, where do lawmakers go next?
As of February 1, 2017 state laws disparately regulate patient registration and civil rights, product safety labeling and packaging, and dispensaries, creating a patchwork of regulatory strategies whose effectiveness remains unknown.
University of Washington, Office of Sponsored Programs
This study describes patient characteristics, clinical features, and EMS response to opioid overdoses in Seattle, comparing heroin and pharmaceutical opioid (PO) overdoses from six alternating months in 2011. While they are clinical similar, the study finds that heroin and pharmaceutical opioid overdoses are treated differently by responders.