Lexy Campbell recommends the poignant Netflix documentary, 'Heroin(e),' which delves deep into the opioid crisis in Huntington, West Virginia, often labeled as the overdose capital of the U.S. The film paints a compelling narrative by following three resilient women from diverse backgrounds, all united in their efforts to combat the devastating impact of drug addiction in their community.
By Emily Schmall, NY Times
Hospice facilities strive to ease the pain of their patients during the end of their lives. Unfortunately, members of Glen Oaks Alzheimer’s Special Care Center did just the opposite, as they prematurely declared a 66-year-old woman dead. The report did not provide the woman’s name, however, she was admitted to the facility in late December 2021 for early-onset dementia, anxiety, and depression. Her vital signs declined throughout her stay, and just a year later, her health significantly deteriorated. On January 3rd, a facility employee found the woman unresponsive and talked with a nurse, who declared her dead. When funeral home workers unzipped the body bag, they found the woman’s chest moving up and down as she gasped for air. They called 911 and brought her back to a hospital, where she died a couple of days later. Glen Oaks was fined $10,000 for this incident.
— by Andrew Feld
By Shawn Radcliffe, Healthline
President Biden gave his State of the Union address on Tuesday, February 7th, highlighting the successes of his presidency and goals for the future. Several healthcare topics were discussed, giving Americans an idea of what is to come regarding drug pricing, COVID-19, and more.
Biden signed the Inflation Reduction Act into law in 2022, reducing drug costs and capping the price of insulin at $35 per month for Medicare members. In his speech, he expressed a desire to extend the insulin benefits to all Americans, regardless of insurance provider. However, COVID-19 received less attention than last year’s address as cases are much lower than in early 2022. The speech emphasized that the virus is still a threat, despite the public health emergency officially ending in May. Biden requested more money from Congress to support vaccines, treatments, and research on new variants.
Other plans for the coming year included preventing the flow of opioids into the country, addressing the effects of social media on adolescent mental health, and expanding the Cancer Moonshot program to increase support services for cancer patients. After several years of COVID-19 being in the spotlight of American life and politics, the State of the Union address gave more time to other important health issues.
— by Gabrielle Stearns
By Janelle Chavez, CNN
When new mothers face the choice to breastfeed or give their child formula, they may be influenced by what The Lancet calls “predatory tactics” used by formula companies. This past week, the journal outlined the need for transparent information regarding feeding infants so that parents can make informed decisions. The CNN article also highlights additional research from The Lancet that estimates that nearly a million infant and maternal lives could be saved every year by utilizing breastfeeding. However, the authors of these papers also recognize that pressures or the inability to breastfeed can make it impossible for some mothers to breastfeed. Yet they want formula companies to be forthright about the health content and potential downfalls of formula feeding. This report comes after a recent formula shortage in the United States sparked panic and even rationing of baby formula.
— by Annika Urban
The Youth Risk Behavior Survey given to 17,000 adolescents enrolled in a US high school found nearly 3 in 5 teenage girls felt record levels of sadness in 2021. Even worse, 1 in 3 girls and 1 in 5 lesbian, gay, and bisexual youth considered attempting suicide according to the CDC. The Youth Risk Behavior Survey is conducted every two years and, according to Dr. Kathleen Ethier, head of the CDC’s Adolescent and School Health program, the rates of mental health problems have gone up since 2011. Today’s values reflect the highest rates of sadness in a decade.
There are several speculated causes behind the stark increase, the most prominent being the pandemic and the influence of social media. Dr. Cori Green, the Director of Behavior Health Education and Integration in Pediatrics in New York City, states, “there was a mental health crisis before the pandemic – it just didn’t catch everyone’s attention the way it does now….The pandemic led to more social isolation – a risk factor for depression.” Although the full impact of how social media is associated with mental health is unknown, some studies have clearly shown a correlation between the use of social media and the increase in suicidal behavior and depressive mood.
If you or someone you know is having thoughts of suicide, call or text 988 to reach the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline or go to SpeakingOfSuicide.com/resources for a list of additional resources.
— by Emily Kim
Items contributed by: Andrew Feld, Gabrielle Stearns, Annika Urban, and Emily Kim