- Public Health and Education 1
- Marijuana Legalization Threatens Survival Of Compassionate Care Programs That Helped Seriously Ill Patients
- Veterans Health Care 1
- A Veteran's Odyssey: Man Hits The Road In Order To Bring Awareness To Vets' Mental Health Issues
Latest From California Healthline:
Begun as a health care safety net for children and low-income families, Medicaid increasingly underwrites a range of services in America’s public schools. (Anna Gorman and Carmen Heredia Rodriguez, 3/6)
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More News From Across The State
Antonio Villaraigosa, who has been cautious about the financial burden a single-payer system would place on the state, has challenged Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom to a debate.
The Los Angeles Times:
Villaraigosa Challenges Newsom To One-On-One Debate Over Single-Payer Healthcare
Antonio Villaraigosa on Monday challenged his top rival in the governor’s race, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom, to a one-on-one debate over the viability of a state-sponsored single-payer healthcare system in California. The issue has divided the Democratic field of candidates. Newsom and former state schools chief Delaine Eastin have expressed strong support for the proposal, while Villaraigosa and state Treasurer John Chiang have expressed doubt that the state can afford it. (Willon, 3/6)
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency says glyphosate, the ingredient in Roundup at the heart of the suits, is safe for humans when used in accordance with label directions. Some experts say otherwise.
The Associated Press:
Judge Delves Into Science Behind Roundup Cancer Claim
A federal judge on Monday waded into the arcane science behind claims that the widely used weed killer Roundup can cause cancer. The expected weeklong testimony is intended to help him determine whether a jury should hear from doctors who link the product to non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. U.S. District Judge Vince Chhabria heard from an epidemiologist at the University of California, Los Angeles about how she evaluated scientific studies of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Roundup, to arrive at her conclusion that it can cause cancer. (Thanawala, 3/5)
In other health-related news from the courts —
Orange County Register:
San Marcos Man Charged In Connection To Overdose Death Of Camp Pendleton Marine
A 25-year-old San Marcos man will appear in U.S. District Court Tuesday, March 6, on federal charges of distribution of drugs resulting in the death of a Camp Pendleton Marine, officials from the U.S. Attorney’s Office announced Monday. Kyle Anthony Shephard, on Friday, was formally charged with one count of distribution of fentanyl resulting in death. He is accused of selling four fentanyl-laced pills for $100 to a Marine corporal whom he met in Escondido on Jan. 26, 2017, according to a federal complaint unsealed Friday. (Ritchie, 3/5)
San Gabriel Valley Tribune:
Botched Buttocks Enhancement Ends In 2-Year Sentence For California Woman
A Monterey Park woman who injected an unknown liquid into another woman’s buttocks as a cosmetic procedure was sentenced Monday to two years in federal prison for violating the Food, Drug and Cosmetic Act. The victim ended up in the hospital and had a portion of her buttocks removed and underwent skin grafts, according to court documents. (Gonzales, 3/5)
Orange County Register:
Can A Mentally Challenged California Man Stay In Marriage He Might Not Understand?
In the cold and decidedly unromantic eyes of the law, “Marriage is a personal relation arising out of a civil contract between two persons, to which the consent of the parties capable of making that contract is necessary.” So can a man like Ryan Morris – whose mental abilities at age 24 run at roughly a kindergarten level, with disabilities so severe he can’t think abstractly, manage money or care for himself – give informed consent to a marriage and sexual relationship? (Sforza, 3/2)
East Bay Times:
Orinda Child Psychologist Pleads Guilty To Child Porn, Contempt Of Court
It was a plea federal prosecutors were expecting months ago — until they discovered the defendant had continued to download child pornography after bailing out of federal custody on similar charges. Kenneth Breslin, 69, pleaded guilty to two counts of possessing child porn and one count of contempt of court last week, authorities said. His sentencing date has been set for May 27. (Gartrell, 3/3)
Under new state regulations, compassionate care programs must collect taxes on the market value of cannabis that they give to patients. But many of the programs say they cannot afford the taxes.
Low-Cost Medical Marijuana Threatened By California Legalization
The Wo/Men’s Alliance for Medical Marijuana survived a raid by federal agents and other existential threats while providing free and low-cost cannabis to seriously ill patients. In operation for the past three decades, the Santa Cruz-based collective is the oldest example of a "compassionate care" program in the nation. Now, the program and others like it could be forced to close due to an unlikely reason: legalization. (Branan, 3/5)
In other public health news —
Is Orange County Turning The Corner On Homelessness?
In April 2017, federal Judge David O. Carter marched through the 2-mile-long homeless encampment stretched out along the Santa Ana River flood control channel in the heart of Orange County and declared, “No one’s got good answers to this." But nearly a year and several lawsuits later, a wave of efforts to reduce chronic homelessness is sweeping through Orange County, making a once-elusive goal seem reachable. (Replogle, 3/5)
Eli Smith, who has lost friends to PTSD-related suicide, is on a mission to spread awareness across the country.
The San Diego Union-Tribune:
Veteran Trekking 13,000 Miles For PTSD Awareness
Somewhere between 9 and 10 this morning, Eli Smith will finish packing his American flag-bedecked bike trailer in Oceanside and he’ll hit the road. For the past few days, the 37-year-old Army veteran has been using a borrowed garage in the Fire Mountain neighborhood as the staging ground for the next leg of his three-year, 13,000-mile road odyssey. Since Nov. 21, 2016, the Ohio native has been hiking to the four corners of the continental U.S. to raise awareness about suicide among veterans with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD). (Kragen, 3/6)
President Donald Trump recently renewed a conversation about mental institutions as he talked about ways to fix the psychological health system after the Florida shooting. While experts say asylums wouldn't have served to prevent the massacre, some do see the societal need for them. “When people are going back and forth from prisons to hospitals, that’s a sign they might have benefited from longer-term treatment options,” said Dominic Sisti, a medical ethicist.
The New York Times:
Bring Back The Asylums? Critics Fear A New Wave Of Abuse
In the wake of the horrific school shootings in Parkland, Fla., President Trump has called repeatedly for building or reopening mental institutions. Strangely, perhaps, he has echoed an argument made by some experts who study the mental health care system. It’s not that they believe that having more institutions would somehow prevent spree killings, as Mr. Trump apparently does. The majority of these murderers appear to be angry, antisocial individuals — with access to guns — whom the mental health system probably could not have spotted in advance. (Carey, 3/5)
In other national health care news —
The New York Times:
Can This Judge Solve The Opioid Crisis?
Here are a few choice mutterings from the scrum of lawyers outside Courtroom 18B, about the federal judge who summoned them to a closed-door conference on hundreds of opioid lawsuits: “Grandstander.” “Pollyanna.” “Over his head.” And the chorus: “This is not how we do things!” (Hoffman, 3/5)
The New York Times:
Overshadowed By The Opioid Crisis: A Comeback By Cocaine
The opioid epidemic just keeps getting worse, presenting challenges discussed at length at a White House summit last week. But opioids are not America’s only significant drug problem. Among illicit drugs, cocaine is the No. 2 killer and claims the lives of more African-Americans than heroin does. In a recent study published in The Archives of Internal Medicine, researchers from the National Cancer Institute and the National Institute on Drug Abuse found that drug-related deaths have grown across all racial groups and among both men and women. The analysis found that between 1999 and 2015, overdose deaths of any kind of drug for Americans 20 to 64 years old increased 5.5 percent per year. (Frakt, 3/5)
The Wall Street Journal:
Common ‘Superbug’ Found To Disguise Resistance To Potent Antibiotic
Some common “superbugs” appear to harbor a little-known type of resistance to a last-resort antibiotic, a new study shows, suggesting a worrying new way in which dangerous bacteria can evade one of the few remaining treatment options. Bacterial populations are normally viewed as either totally impervious to an antibiotic, or totally treatable. But researchers from Emory University identified a different pattern in a certain type of drug-resistant bacteria, in which some cells in a bacterial colony are resistant to a last-resort antibiotic called colistin. This “heteroresistance” isn’t easily detectable in standard lab tests because most of the cells are susceptible to the drug. (McKay, 3/6)
The New York Times:
Americans Might No Longer Prefer Sons Over Daughters
Around the world, parents have typically preferred to have sons more than daughters, and American parents have been no different. But there are signs that’s changing. It may be because there’s less bias against girls, and possibly more bias against boys. Gallup surveyed Americans 10 times from 1941 to 2011, and their answers remained virtually unchanged: If they could have one child, 40 percent would prefer a boy and 28 percent a girl (the rest showed no preference). (Miller, 3/5)
The Washington Post:
Babies With Down Syndrome Are Put On Center Stage In The U.S. Abortion Fight
Karianne Lisonbee stepped up to the lectern to talk about what she called “a terrible form of discrimination. ”The Republican state representative in Utah had just introduced a bill that would make it a crime for a doctor to perform an abortion if a woman is seeking one “solely” because the fetus has Down syndrome. “In recent years, there has been a shocking increase in abortions performed for no other reason than because a prenatal test identified the potential for a trait a parent didn’t like,” she said at the news conference last month. (Cha, 3/5)