Substance Abuse

‘No Mercy’ Bonus Episodes: More From Fort Scott, Kansas

Searching for the Nuns Who Ghosted Fort Scott Host Sarah Jane Tribble sets out on a mission to learn more about the Sisters of Mercy, the nuns who founded Fort Scott’s Mercy Hospital and were once prominent leaders of the community. Tribble’s first glimpse into their lives takes her to an old convent. To learn …

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KHN’s ‘What the Health?’: The Politics of Vaccine Mandates

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on Acast. You can also listen on Spotify, Apple Podcasts, Stitcher, Pocket Casts or wherever you listen to podcasts. Should covid vaccines be mandated? The answer to that question has become predictably partisan, as with almost everything else associated with the pandemic. Even as the federal …

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Needle Exchanges Are Targeted by Eco-Rooted Lawsuits. A New California Law Will Stop That.

SANTA CRUZ, Calif. — For more than 30 years, public health officials and nonprofits in California have provided clean hypodermic needles to people who use them to inject drugs. For nearly that entire time, opponents have accused the free needle programs of promoting drug use and homelessness. But recently, opponents have deployed a novel strategy …

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Listen: California Banks on a Bold Treatment: Pay Drug Users to Stop Using

When Billy Lemon was trying to kick his methamphetamine addiction, he went to a drug treatment program at the San Francisco AIDS Foundation three times a week and peed in a cup. If it tested negative for meth, he got paid about $7. As the pandemic has raged, so has the country’s drug epidemic. Health …

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From Uber Vouchers to Patient Advocates: What It Takes to Increase ER Addiction Treatment

For years, Kayla West watched the opioid epidemic tear through her eastern Tennessee community. As a psychiatric nurse practitioner, she treated people with mental illness but felt she needed to do more to address addiction. So in 2020, when the state created a position to help hospitals improve addiction care in the emergency room, West …

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As Holdout Missouri Joins Nation in Monitoring Opioid Prescriptions, Experts Worry

Kathi Arbini said she felt elated when Missouri finally caught up to the other 49 states and approved a statewide prescription drug monitoring program this June in an attempt to curb opioid addiction. The hairstylist turned activist estimated she made 75 two-hour trips in the past decade from her home in Fenton, a St. Louis …

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Understanding the Link Between Alcohol and Depression

Alcohol abuse is closely correlated with depression. This doesn’t necessarily mean one causes the other, but many people who suffer from depressive disorders turn to alcohol to escape.  On the other side of that coin, those who abuse or overuse alcohol can develop symptoms of depression or exacerbate symptoms that are already present. So, how …

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How ERs Fail Patients With Addiction: One Patient’s Tragic Death

Jameson Rybak tried to quit using opioids nearly a dozen times within five years. Each time, he’d wait out the vomiting, sweating and chills from withdrawal in his bedroom. It was difficult to watch, said his mother, Suzanne Rybak, but she admired his persistence. On March 11, 2020, though, Suzanne grew worried. Jameson, 30 at …

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Journalists Discuss New Alzheimer’s Drug, Women’s Alcohol Use, the Hip-Hop and Opioids Link

KHN chief Washington correspondent Julie Rovner discussed the FDA’s approval of a new drug for Alzheimer’s disease on WAMU’s “1A” on Wednesday. Click here to hear Rovner on WAMU KHN correspondent Aneri Pattani discussed the increase in alcohol use and misuse by young women on NPR’s “All Things Considered” on Wednesday. Click here to hear …

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Coverage parity for mental health, substance abuse, a key focus for insurance regulators

Health insurers are prohibited from placing unfavorable limits on mental health and substance abuse benefits, and yet, many do. Federal and state regulators are taking aim at these practices and making the enforcement of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act of 2008 a key focus.

Mental Health Services Wane as Insurers Appear to Skirt Parity Rules During Pandemic

Therapists and other behavioral health care providers cut hours, reduced staffs and turned away patients during the pandemic as more Americans experienced depression symptoms and drug overdoses, according to a new report from the Government Accountability Office. Use Our Content It can be republished for free. The report on patient access to behavioral health care …

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Addiction Treatment Providers in Pa. Face Little State Scrutiny Despite Harm to Clients

This investigation is a joint project of KHN, a national newsroom that produces in-depth journalism about health issues, and Spotlight PA, an independent, collaborative newsroom dedicated to producing investigative journalism for all of Pennsylvania. This story also ran on Spotlight PA. It can be republished for free. When Ian Kalinowski was at work, his mom usually texted …

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How NLP Can Uncover Social Determinants of Heart Disease

David Talby, CTO, John Snow Labs Heart disease is the leading cause of death for people of most racial and ethnic groups in the United States. Cardiovascular disease-related deaths—which occur every 36 seconds—cost our country about $219 billion each year, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). People with poor cardiovascular health …

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New California Law Makes It Easier to Get Care for Mental Health and Substance Abuse

USE OUR CONTENT It can be republished for free. Karen Bailey’s 20-year-old daughter has struggled with depression and anxiety for years. Since 2017, she’s been in three intensive group therapy programs and, each time, the family’s insurer cut her coverage short, says Bailey. “At a certain point, they would send us a form letter saying: …

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DeSantis Advances Questionable Link Between Lockdowns and Despair

The result of lockdowns “has been the destruction of millions of lives across America as well as increased deaths from suicide, substance abuse and despair without any corresponding benefit in covid mortality.” Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis, Feb. 2, 2020 For months, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has boasted about his state’s “open for business” strategy in …

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La pandemia genera abuso de alcohol, y récord de hospitalizaciones por enfermedad hepática

La pandemia ha hecho recaer a miles de alcohólicos en recuperación, y los hospitales del país informan de un aumento espectacular de ingresos relacionados con el alcohol y enfermedades graves, como la hepatitis alcohólica y la insuficiencia hepática. Las enfermedades hepáticas relacionadas con el alcoholismo eran un problema creciente incluso antes de la pandemia, con …

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Pandemic-Fueled Alcohol Abuse Creates Wave of Hospitalizations for Liver Disease

This story also ran on Los Angeles Times. It can be republished for free. As the pandemic sends thousands of recovering alcoholics into relapse, hospitals across the country have reported dramatic increases in alcohol-related admissions for critical diseases like alcoholic hepatitis and liver failure. Alcoholism-related liver disease was a growing problem even before the pandemic, …

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Evaluating COVID-19’s Behavioral Health Impact on the Economy

Irv Lichtenwald, President & CEO of Medsphere Systems Corporation We’re now in a new year and new presidential administration. At least three companies are producing effective COVID-19 vaccines, which are being administered to healthcare workers, teachers, and the elderly. By summer, hopefully a large majority of the population in most countries will be vaccinated. From …

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FCC Unveils 14 Initial Projects Selected for $100M Connected Care Pilot Program

What You Should Know: – FCC announces initial 14 pilot project selected for $100M Connected Care Pilot Program that will support connected care service across the country and focus on low-income and veteran patients. The Federal Communications Commission (FCC) today announced an initial set of 14 pilot projects with over 150 treatment sites in 11 …

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SPAC Mergers with 2 Telehealth Companies to Form Public Digital Health Company in $1.35B Deal

What You Should Know: – GigCapital2 Inc has agreed to merge with UpHealth Holdings Inc and Cloudbreak Health LLC to create a public digital healthcare company valued at $1.35 billion, including debt, the blankcheck acquisition company said on Monday. – The combined company will be named UpHealth, Inc. and will continue to be listed on …

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Ontrak Acquires Science-Backed, Behavior Change Platform LifeDojo

What You Should Know: – Ontrak acquires LifeDojo Inc, a San Francisco, CA-based comprehensive, science-backed behavior change platform. – The acquisition broadens Ontrak’s addressable market and footprint to lower acuity populations enabling new interventions and remote patient monitoring. Ontrak, Inc., a leading AI-powered and telehealth-enabled, virtualized healthcare company, today announced that it has acquired LifeDojo …

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Were We Mentally Ready for COVID-19? Why It’s Time to Take Behavioral Health Seriously

Dr. Jacob Lazarovic M.D., IMCS Group As you read this, over 200,000 American deaths have been attributed to the virus. The influx of cases continues, while state and local economies are experiencing hardship, children are shuttered in their homes learning remotely, grown children are moving back home and the “new normal” disrupts nearly all of …

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Drug Overdose Deaths Showed a One-Year Decline in 2018. But There’s More to the Story.

    Detective Ryan Holets, whose personal story includes the adoption of an infant born to a drug-addicted mother, addressed the Republican National Convention on its second night. He praised President Donald Trump’s efforts in addressing drug and opioid abuse and noted “drug overdose deaths decreased in 2018 for the first time in 30 years.” …

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Virtual Behavioral Health Could Reduce Costs, Improve Patient Outcomes, Report Finds

What You Should Know: – A new Accenture report called “Breakthrough Behavioral Health Access: Think Virtual” finds that the use of virtual behavioral health could expand care for more than 53 million Americans facing these conditions. – Demand for behavioral health specialists significantly outweighs current availability; in addition to severe wait times of 25 days …

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KHN’s ‘What The Health?’: Trump Twists on Virus Response

Can’t see the audio player? Click here to listen on SoundCloud. President Donald Trump — who has spent the past six months trying to play down the coronavirus pandemic — seems to have pivoted. In back-to-back briefings on July 21 and 22, Trump cautioned that the U.S. is in a dangerous place vis-a-vis the pandemic. He …

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