Many are heralding the FDA approval of the first injectable treatment option for opioid addiction as the solution to the opioid crisis. But using one drug to treat another, and at a cost of $1,500 per shot, buprenorphine is not the answer. A better solution is a natural and relatively inexpensive treatment – acupuncture.
In 2007, Hepatitis C (HCV) surpassed HIV in causing the more deaths in the United States. That same year, our first black president was in the making, and his chariots of hope were set loose. Unfortunately, many other people of color were languishing in our correctional facilities, with multiple co-occurring health conditions —king among them HCV. The fate of their health is yet a reminder of their disenfranchisement. For incarcerated people of color living with HCV any brush with the Department of Corrections is tantamount to a death sentence.
At the November 13 public hearing on the issue of patient abuse at Whiting Forensic Institute, I sat and listened with great interest, and sadness, to the questions that the Public Health Committee posed to the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the department’s responses. As the Public Health Committee continues the process of reviewing the events that occurred at Whiting, it must expand its focus on what the committee and the General Assembly will do to drive the type of change necessary to restore the public’s confidence in Connecticut Valley Hospital and Whiting Forensic Institute.
Given the opioid addiction crisis, it would seem preposterous that an opioid is legal for use in the United States and can be purchased at tea stores, convenience stores, over the internet and, yes, even from vending machines. However, kratom is not your average opioid. The Drug Enforcement Agency found this out when it tried to ban the herb in 2016.
The Affordable Care Act, more commonly known as Obamacare, is a perverse twist on the Robin Hood tale. Rather than steal from the rich, Obamacare has taken from the middle class. Prior to ACA, the self-employed middle class had many options for comprehensive insurance. They were largely able to afford their premiums and deductibles, and out of pocket costs were manageable. Most importantly, they were free to choose their own doctors and hospitals from a nationwide provider network.
Imagine sitting in a room with 360 other people. Now imagine that 95 percent of these people are women. Indeed, the room is filled with chatter, laughter, and anticipation. The room is in a downtown Waterbury hotel and occupied by pre-school and kindergarten teachers, home daycare providers, and administrators. The women, and the handful of men, have come to kick off an important movement in Waterbury: to make early childhood care more aware of and informed about the prevalence and impact of trauma. Specifically, how traumatic experiences influences the lives of the young children they work with.
This year’s complicated and difficult process to develop a state budget has inflicted disproportionate injury on individuals with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families. While the protracted negotiations continue, young graduates from our public schools have been forced to sit at home in state-imposed isolation, as there is no funding for the critical and longstanding Employment and Day Services program. As difficult as this has been, there is some reason for hope.
There is so much rancor and finger pointing these days over prescription drug prices that consumers are often left to wonder: who is fighting on their behalf? The answer: Pharmacy Benefit Managers, or PBMs.
There is a serious public health issue that is harming many high school students across our state. It may be causing them to be ill, have higher rates of depression and substance abuse, obesity, car accidents and sports injuries. It is reducing their academic performance in the classroom and on standardized tests. What is causing this crisis? Schools that start too early in the morning.
I recently spent a week at the outer Cape and saw large schools of seals close to the beach. When I mention this, the invariable response is “sharks.” Where there are seals, there will be sharks. It’s the nature of predators and prey. Which brings me to our worsening opioid-overdose epidemic, why it’s getting worse, and why it will deteriorate further if we don’t change our approach. The sharks are here. They want your children.
After passing the eight-year mark since passing the Affordable Care Act, nonpartisan data from sources such as the U.S. Census Bureau have confirmed the real-life benefits the ACA has brought to the state of Connecticut. As the Bureau reported, the uninsured rate in our state has fallen from 9.2 to 3.8 percent, patients can no longer be cut off from medical treatment due to lifetime limits on coverage, and Americans have the peace of mind in knowing that a childhood illness or chronic disease will not prohibit them from purchasing health insurance later in life. However, in the seven years since its passage, the ACA has not solved every problem in the healthcare system and serious challenges remain even today.
Why are President Trump’s proposed cuts to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) such a bad idea? One big reason is that they are on the forefront of what Dr. Tom Frieden, former CDC Director, rightly called “one of our most serious health threats” — killer antibiotic-resistant bacteria.