Opioids

Legislation 

Senate Introduces NIH Research Bill to Combat Opioid Crisis
In 2016, 116 people died every day from opioid-related drug overdoses. America is experiencing an opioid epidemic (see: Prescription Opioid Addiction Help · A MedTruth Guide), which was recently declared a public health emergency by President Trump and the Department of Health and Human Services.

In response to the crisis, the Senate is looking to create a bill focused on funding new treatments that could curb the epidemic. Known as the Advancing Cutting-Edge Research Act, the legislation addresses research funding to manage pain and treat opioid addiction.

The bill expands the authority of the National Institutes of Health and provides the agency’s director with the right to approve new projects for research, in addition to company partnerships to come up with creative research options to deal with the opioid crisis.

 

Influenza

Public Health
Flu Season Kills 84 Children, Similar to 2009 Pandemic

A total of 84 children have died from influenza this season, making this year’s season comparable to the 2009 pandemic. The amount of hospitalizations is nearing the level of the 2009 swine flu pandemic, which was historically concerning. 

Have you prepared for flu season? Those most affected by the flu season are children, adults with existing illnesses that affect immunity, and elderly people ages 65 and older. This year, the Centers for Disease Control & Prevention recommend only injectable flu shots. The nasal spray flu vaccine (LAIV) is not as effective.

The influenza season often lasts for 11 to 20 weeks, and it’s currently at week 11. But reports say the illnesses may begin to plateau, according to the Washington Post. To keep yourself and others safe, avoid people who are sick. Don’t attend work or school if you think you may be ill. Always cover your mouth when you cough and wash your hands regularly.

 

Nursing Homes

Elderly Care
Report Shows Antipsychotics Still Misused in Nursing Homes

The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) released recent data about the use, and abuse, of antipsychotics in U.S. nursing homes. Despite a notable decrease in use, nursing home residents are still being inappropriately overmedicated.

A report from the Human Rights Watch has shown a reduced number of antipsychotic drug use nationwide. In 2011, use of antipsychotic drugs in long-term nursing home patients was at 24 percent. Last year, the number dropped to 16 percent.

The report shows that 179,000 nursing home patients are receiving antipsychotics. Some patients receive the antipsychotics without diagnosis or consent from family members. Many patients of these patients have dementia, and the drugs are being used as sedatives. This is a form of nursing home abuse, which is an ongoing problem in the U.S.