Opinion writers weigh in on these health topics and others.
Stat: Addiction Often Begins With A ‘Beautiful’ Boy Or Girl
In the American mind, drug addiction happens only to people “born under a bad sign.” That’s just not true. Worse, it implies that success in life protects individuals from addiction. Throughout my 50-year career working on drug abuse prevention and treatment, I’ve often seen drug addiction befall every kind of person. That’s one reason I have been urging people to see “Beautiful Boy,” a new film about the relationship between a good father and his good son as the teenager dives into addiction. The film is based on a pair of best-selling books: “Beautiful Boy,” which tells the story from the father’s perspective, and “Tweak,” which tells it from the son’s. (Robert L. DuPont, 11/5)
Seattle Times: Let’s Talk About Dementia To Bring It Out Of The Shadows
Justice Sandra Day O’Connor set a high bar. As the first woman on the Supreme Court, she remade our image of a powerful judge. Justice O’Connor was ahead of the curve again last week when she announced her diagnosis of early Alzheimer’s. She sets another example by taking this brave step and bringing this difficult disease out of the shadows. (Barak Gaster, 11/4)
The Wall Street Journal: Washington Needs To Legalize Cannabis
Citizens in four states vote Tuesday on ballot initiatives to legalize some form of cannabis. Residents of Missouri and Utah will decide on its medical availability, Michigan and North Dakota on recreational consumption for adults. If all four measures pass, the tally of states that allow some sort of cannabis use will jump to 32, nearly two-thirds of the U.S. The trend could not be clearer: Cannabis prohibition is coming to an end. A Gallup poll last month found 66% of Americans favor legal marijuana. I am now one of those Americans. (Former speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives John Boehner, 11/4)
The Washington Post: I’m Your Doctor, So Why Are You Calling Me ‘Miss’?
Miss? Miss? Are you kidding me? You’ve got to be kidding me. You demanded to speak to a doctor, your mother’s doctor, now, right now, and I came and answered your questions politely and with patience — and yet I’m still not the doctor? That “Miss” just sucks the air right out of me. I don’t know what to do with that. Suddenly I feel small. (Caitlin Bass, 11/4)
Stat: One Number Keeps Me From Taking Part In Cystic Fibrosis Trials. That’s Wrong
Most cystic fibrosis studies, including Phase 1, 2, and 3 trials, require participants to have an FEV1 of at least 40 percent. Mine is 25 percent which, for more than 10 years of my life, has made me ineligible for clinical trials. I’m not alone. That requirement overlooks the fact that cystic fibrosis affects different people in different ways. Some who need supplemental oxygen, have a hard time completing daily tasks, are unable to work, and are on disability have FEV1s above 40 percent and so would qualify for trials. Others, like me, who work, travel, have good quality of life, and use oxygen only when sleeping or during laborious physical activity, yet have FEV1s of 30 percent, are excluded from taking part in trials. (Ella Balasa, 11/5)
The Washington Post: Liberals, Get A Grip. Democrats Who Oppose Abortion Are Still Democrats.
In the left-of-center universes where I have mostly lived, worked and been politically active, it is now awkward to introduce oneself as a Democrat who supports the choice for life over that of abortion. The reaction is often polite but perplexed. I have regularly had people greet this news with a shocked silence — as though supporting universal health care, economic redistribution, minority rights, strong unions, environmental regulation, gun controls, criminal justice reform and freedom of expression but balking at abortion is so illogical that it can be explained only by some psychological deficit or religious dogmatism beyond rational discussion. A few outraged interlocutors have suggested that to be both a liberal and an abortion opponent is a form of insidious false advertising, just short of claiming to sell oneself as a benign Nazi. (Peter Steinfels, 11/5)
The Hill: David V. Goliath: Personal Care Attendants Stand Up To The Unions
Personal care attendants, or PCAs, in Minnesota are collecting cards for the largest decertification in labor law history. They have less than 30 days to prove that they want a new election on union representation. This petition for an election comes after the discovery that at least eight states have a scheme in which unions deduct dues from Medicaid reimbursements to PCAs, who are usually family members taking care of individuals with disabilities. (Olivia Grady, 11/3)
Los Angeles Times: Finally, Orange County Homeless People May Get A Place To Live Other Than A Riverbed
After months of stalling and whining, officials in Orange County have finally developed plans to provide shelter for hundreds of homeless people, many of whom were removed from encampments along the Santa Ana River Trail earlier this year. That’s a meaningful step forward; at the time the rousting began, officials had no plan for where people should go. There were not enough emergency shelters available, and the largest of them was a converted bus terminal that looked and felt more like a refugee camp. (11/5)
Detroit News: State, Feds Rightly Tackle Opioid Abuse
Opioid addiction has become such a serious problem that it can only be remedied through effective and coordinated measures. That’s why we are pleased to see the joint efforts at both the state and federal level in recent weeks to combat this crisis.President Donald Trump signed the “Support for Patients and Communities Act” on Oct. 24, which promises $ 8.5 billion this year for opioid-related programs. The next day, a Michigan executive directive signed by Lt. Gov. Brian Calley established new rules that require health professionals and facilities to report overdoses and deaths within five days of a Michigan Department of Health and Human Services request. (11/3)
Cleveland Plain Dealer: Pass Issue 1 In Ohio To Focus On Treatment-Oriented Approaches To Addiction Rather Than Criminalization
Decriminalization of addiction is long overdue and I am glad to see Issue 1 on our ballot in Ohio. For years I have watched my patients with addiction get arrested over and over again as a direct result of their addictions. My patients are frequently arrested and charged with felonies when they are caught in possession of drugs that they have obtained for their personal use. I have watched them cycle in and out of jail, and I have seen many of my patients go to prison. What I have learned through my experiences with my patients is that neither jail, nor prison, nor a constant fear of being locked up cures addiction. (Megan Testa, 11/4)
Cincinnati Enquirer: Every Child Deserves A Safe, Permanent And Nurturing Home
Tuesday, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to leave a legacy and positively affect generations of children for years to come. We have the chance to take a simple action that can make children’s lives better now, as well as change the arc of their future children’s lives. (Tracy Cook, 11/4)
WBUR: My Life Before The Transgender Protection Law
Voting yes on Question 3 ensures that both of us have laws in place that protect us in public places and makes us feel safe. Voting no only protects only one of us. (Robson Govine, 11/5)
This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.