HEALTH & JUSTICE IN THE NEWS
Date: September 21, 2017
TASC in the News
Helping Youth Find a Path to Success
Strengthening Chicago's Youth | Heroes Magazine, 9/2017
After she got into a fight with another teen, Victoria* was arrested, and faced the possibility of incarceration in the Cook County Juvenile Temporary Detention Center. Research has shown that youth who spend time in juvenile detention centers are more likely to engage in future criminal activity, do poorly in school and have substance use and mental health issues. Instead of being placed in detention, Victoria's probation officer referred her to Lurie Children's Juvenile Justice Collaborative, an innovative new model aimed at giving a second chance to youth with juvenile justice system contact. After a comprehensive assessment, Victoria was referred to services at one of the 10 community-based agencies participating in the collaborative. The Juvenile Justice Collaborative is led by Strengthening Chicago's Youth (SCY), a Lurie Children's initiative that partners with a wide range of community stakeholders to develop strategies to prevent youth violence before it occurs. With SCY providing coordination, officers from the Cook County Juvenile Probation Department identify potential candidates for the program who are between the ages of 12 and 18 and live in underserved Chicago neighborhoods. They are then referred to a care coordinator with Treatment Alternatives for Safer Communities, Inc. (TASC), a nonprofit organization that focuses on alternatives to incarceration, and serves as the Collaborative's intake and referral center. One of the agency's care coordinators meets with the youth and his or her family to assess the young person's needs and risk level, and then refers them to the most appropriate community-based provider for support services. Their progress is closely followed by a case worker, who also makes visits to their home and school.
*Name changed to protect privacy.
Around the Nation
Press Release: President Donald J. Trump Proclaims September 17 through September 23, 2017, as Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week
The White House, 9/15/17
During Prescription Opioid and Heroin Epidemic Awareness Week, we draw renewed attention to the scourge that continues to devastate individuals, families, and communities across our Nation. Preliminary data indicates that approximately 64,000 Americans died last year of drug overdoses in the United States, the majority of them from opioids. The number of infants born with opioid dependence has more than quadrupled in the past decade. Nearly 100 Americans, on average, die each day from opioid overdoses, and overdose rates are highest among people between 25 to 54 years old, robbing so many of our young people of their potential. This is a genuine crisis that my Administration is working tirelessly to address.
U.S. vice president: Republicans 'close' on healthcare's last chance
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday urged fellow Republicans to get behind the party's "last best chance" to repeal and replace Obamacare as congressional leaders scrambled to secure enough support ahead of a planned vote next week. Pence, in an interview on Fox News, said Republicans were close to dismantling the 2010 healthcare law passed by former Democratic President Barack Obama. "This may well be our last best chance to stop and turn around," he said. Republicans need 50 votes to pass their latest healthcare overhaul plan before a Sept. 30 deadline in the Senate, where they hold a 52-48 majority. Majority Leader Mitch McConnell intends to bring it to the Senate floor for a vote next week.
Last-Ditch Effort By Republicans To Replace ACA: What You Need To Know
Kaiser Health News, 9/19/17
Republican efforts in Congress to "repeal and replace" the federal Affordable Care Act are back from the dead. Again. While the chances for this last-ditch measure appear iffy, many GOP senators are rallying around a proposal by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), along with Sens. Dean Heller (R-Nev.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.) They are racing the clock to round up the needed 50 votes - and there are 52 Senate Republicans. An earlier attempt to replace the ACA this summer fell just one vote short when Sens. Susan Collins (R-Maine), Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) and John McCain (R-Ariz.) voted against it. The latest push is setting off a massive guessing game on Capitol Hill about where the GOP can pick up the needed vote. After Sept. 30, the end of the current fiscal year, Republicans would need 60 votes - which means eight Democrats - to pass any such legislation because special budget rules allowing approval with a simple majority will expire.
Republicans' new repeal bill would probably leave millions more uninsured, new analyses suggest
Los Angeles Times, 9/20/17
The latest Republican bid to roll back the Affordable Care Act would likely leave millions of currently insured Americans without health coverage in the coming decades, and strip benefits and protections from millions more, a growing number of independent studies suggest. Healthcare safety nets in dozens of states stand to lose more than $200 billion by 2026 and hundreds of billions of dollars more in the years that follow, the analyses indicate.
Health-Law Repeal Push Could Jeopardize Children's Program Funding
The Wall Street Journal, 9/20/17
The 11th-hour push to dismantle major portions of the Affordable Care Act by the end of the month is imperiling funding for several popular bipartisan health programs that are set to expire Sept. 30. The top Republican and Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee brokered a deal last week to reauthorize funding for the Children's Health Insurance Program, or CHIP, for five years, just as the program's funding is set to phase out. But the Republican push to advance a repeal bill, from Sens. Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana, is complicating the lawmakers' ability to get the CHIP deal across the finish line in time, according to people familiar with the planning. That could, in turn, endanger other smaller health programs with Sept. 30 funding cliffs, which lawmakers had hoped to attach to the CHIP legislation.
Who is for and against the Senate ObamaCare repeal bill
The Hill, 9/21/17
The Senate could potentially vote on the latest ObamaCare repeal-and-replace plan next week, but the bill has won mixed reviews inside and outside Congress. The proposal, sponsored by Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.), would largely dismantle ObamaCare and convert its funding to block grants. States would get the funding to design their own programs, leaving some states with more money and others with less. Just what states would decide to do would likely vary across the country.
Here is where key players and stakeholders stand.
Insurers Come Out Swinging Against New Republican Health Care Bill
The New York Times, 9/20/17
The health insurance industry, after cautiously watching Republican health care efforts for months, came out forcefully on Wednesday against the Senate's latest bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, suggesting that its state-by-state block grants could create health care chaos in the short term and a Balkanized, uncertain insurance market. In the face of the industry opposition, Senate Republican leaders nevertheless said they would push for a showdown vote next week on the legislation, drafted by Senators Lindsey Graham of South Carolina and Bill Cassidy of Louisiana. That puts Republican senators in a squeeze, especially those whose states would lose money under a complicated formula in the bill. Generally, it would shift federal funds away from states that have been successful in expanding coverage to states where Republican leaders refused to expand Medicaid or encourage enrollment.
AARP calls on senators to reject latest ObamaCare repeal bill
The Hill, 9/19/17
The AARP on Tuesday slammed the latest ObamaCare repeal bill and called on senators to reject it. The bill from Sens. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) and Bill Cassidy (R-La.) would increase health-care costs for older Americans with an age tax, decrease coverage and undermine protections for people with pre-existing conditions, the group said. The AARP also blasted the idea that the Senate could vote on the measure without a full Congressional Budget Office analysis of coverage losses and its impact on premiums. "It is irresponsible for the Senate to take a vote on a bill impacting tens of millions of Americans and one-sixth of our nation's economy without information on the potential consequences," the group said in a statement.
Durbin and Grassley to reintroduce bipartisan criminal justice bill
The Hill, 9/19/17
Senators are planning to take a second stab at passing a bipartisan criminal justice reform bill after it stalled amid GOP infighting. Sens. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) and Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said Tuesday that they will reintroduce the Sentencing Reform and Corrections Act, though they didn't specify a timeline for when they could roll out the legislation. The bill, originally introduced in 2015, would reduce mandatory minimum sentences for certain drug offenses and armed career criminals while increasing mandatory minimums for other offenses such as domestic violence.
Women and Opioids: Inside the Deadliest Drug Epidemic in American History
Glamour Magazine, 9/21/17
Thirty-one women will lose their lives to opioids today. This special report details how the crisis is impacting all of us.
Latest move in bail reform: Chief judge replaces all bond court judges
Chicago Sun-Times, 9/15/17
Chief Cook County Judge Timothy Evans on Friday announced he is replacing the half-dozen judges who preside over bond hearings at the Leighton Criminal Courthouse-a sweeping change and the latest move to reform the cash bond system that critics say leaves poor and minority defendants locked up on low-level charges. The move by Evans comes two months after he issued an order, which takes effect Monday, that bond court judges are required to set bail in amounts defendants can afford to pay.
Call for Bail Reform Across Illinois
WIBQ | Illinois News Connection, 9/20/17
Now that a judge in Cook County has ruled that a court can't set bail amounts that people can't afford, advocates want that order implemented across the state, and they're calling for federal lawmakers to do the same. In an attempt to reduce jail population, Cook County Chief Judge Timothy Evans issued a general order to judges, telling them to set a bail amount that is affordable.
Juvenile Justice Reform Gets A Shot In The Arm With New Act
Chicago Defender, 9/18/17
Cook County legislators recently held a press conference to recognize the passage of the Youth Opportunity and Fairness Act, which aims to increase the protections surrounding sealed juvenile records. The Youth Opportunity and Fairness Act is the result of the signing of HB 3817 into law, which will take effect on Jan. 1, 2018. According to its synopsis, HB 3817 provides more than eight clearly defined protections for juvenile records.
Gov. Rauner signs changes to Illinois' asset forfeiture law
Illinois News Network, 9/19/17
Gov. Bruce Rauner signed changes to an Illinois law that allows police to take your belongings if you're accused of a crime. Alongside the American Civil Liberties Union of Illinois and a group of bipartisan lawmakers, advocacy groups and law enforcement members, Rauner said the measure changing the state's asset forfeiture law restores the principle of innocent until proven guilty and protects against unreasonable seizure.
DuPage Getting $390,000 to Fight Opioid Epidemic
U.S. News & World Report | AP, 9/20/17
A suburban Chicago health department is getting $390,000 from the federal government to help train first responders in how to administer a drug that can save the life of someone suffering from a heroin overdose. In a news release, U.S. Senators Dick Durbin and Tammy Duckworth of Illinois say the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services awarded the money to the DuPage County Health Department to support what is called the DuPage Narcan Program. The money will be used to develop a training program and supply the antidote - called Narcan - to first responders.
Heroin's Impact: 'Everything is getting black'
The Register-Mail, 9/19/17
An estimated 1.9 million Americans suffer from substance use disorder from prescription opioid pain relievers and 435,000 people are addicted to heroin, according to the Illinois Department of Public Health. In Illinois, drug overdoses caused more deaths than traffic accidents every year since 2014. Locally, Galesburg Hospitals Ambulance Service has used 105 Narcan units since Jan. 1 in attempts to revive people, with nearly half of those cases due to overdose. This four-part series by The Register-Mail focuses on the impact heroin addiction is having on people who use heroin, their families and the community.
Research, Reports, and Studies
Drug Overdoses Are Depressing the Entire Country's Life Expectancy
Pacific Standard, 9/19/17
The drug overdose problem has become so severe in the United States, it's now bringing down the country's average life expectancy, according to a new analysis. For more than two decades, Americans' life expectancy had only gone up every year. But while analyzing the data for 2015, scientist Deborah Dowell and her team saw a drop. "It really got our attention," says Dowell, the senior medical advisor for the Division of Unintentional Injury Prevention at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Upon deeper digging, the researchers found the culprit: drug overdoses, most them overdoses on opioids such as prescription painkillers, heroin, and fentanyl. The last time the U.S. saw a drop in life expectancy was in 1993, at the height of HIV/AIDS's spread and deadliness. They published their results today in the Journal of the American Medical Association.
Health & Justice in the News
is a summary of recent news stories relating to criminal justice, mental health, addiction, recovery, and related issues. It is compiled and published by TASC each Monday and Thursday.
Some headlines and text have been altered by TASC for clarity or emphasis, or to minimize discriminatory or stigmatizing language. Opinions in the articles and op-eds do not necessarily express the views of TASC or our staff or partners.