HEALTH & JUSTICE IN THE NEWS
Date: February 12, 2018
Around the Nation
Trump Signs Budget Deal, Stopgap Spending Bill to End Shutdown
The Wall Street, 2/9/18
President Donald Trump signed a two-year budget deal Friday morning, along with a stopgap spending bill to end a brief government shutdown. The measure passed in the House hours earlier, in a 240-186 vote, overcoming opposition from both conservative Republicans opposed to boosting federal spending and Democrats worried its passage would diminish their leverage in the coming debate over immigration. After months of funding the government through short-term patches, a coalition of centrist House Republicans and Democrats combined to end the year's second government shutdown and resolve a fiscal fight that had spilled over from 2017. The Senate had passed the spending package hours earlier in a 71-28 vote. The president signed the bill about 8:30 a.m.
Trump's Budget Proposal to Devote $13 Billion for Opioid Crisis Response
President Donald Trump's budget for the 2019 fiscal year is set to be released Monday and will include a reported $13 billion in funds to fight the opioid crisis plaguing the U.S. An outline of the proposals released from the White House Office of Management and Budget shows that the president intends to give $3 billion in 2018 and $10 billion in 2019 to the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Bloomberg reported. The annual budget proposal from the White House does not guarantee the exact dollar amount, as congress will determine how much money exactly will be allocated. However, the budget highlights issues that the White House and the president plan to prioritize for the next year.
Trump to nominate Jim Carroll as next drug czar
Modern Healthcare | AP, 2/12/18
President Donald Trump has tapped deputy White House chief of staff Jim Carroll to serve as the administration's next drug czar. Carroll's position as head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy will make him the most public face of the administration's efforts to fight the opioid epidemic. Carroll does not appear to have any public health experience. He worked for the Ford Motor Company before joining the administration and also worked for the Justice and Treasury departments. But the White House said that after law school, Carroll spent five years as the assistant commonwealth attorney for Fairfax, Virginia, where the majority of the cases were drug-related and he worked directly with those affected by drug abuse. He also worked with attorneys facing substance use issues at the Virginia State Bar.
At the heart of Canada's fentanyl crisis, extreme efforts that U.S. cities may follow
The Washington Post, 2/11/18
As fentanyl rampages across North America, several U.S. cities have announced that they will open the first supervised drug-consumption sites like those in Canada. Their plans illustrate the gulf between the two nations: While Justin Trudeau's government is doubling down on its "harm reduction" approach, any U.S. organization that tries to follow suit would be violating federal law and risking a confrontation with the Justice Department. U.S. researchers say that at least one underground site is operating on American soil, and they predict that a public operation will open despite the potential consequences.
Kentucky Rushes to Remake Medicaid as Other States Prepare to Follow
The New York Times, 2/10/18
With approval from the Trump administration fresh in hand, Kentucky is rushing to roll out its first-in-the-nation plan to require many Medicaid recipients to work, volunteer or train for a job - even as critics mount a legal challenge to stop it on the grounds that it violates the basic tenets of the program. At least eight other Republican-led states are hoping to follow - a ninth, Indiana, has already won permission to do so - and some want to go even further by imposing time limits on coverage.
Companies donate overdose-reversal drug to Illinois
The Southern Illinois | AP, 2/12/18
AptarGroup and Adapt Pharma have donated thousands of doses of the emergency therapy naloxone hydrochloride, which can reverse respiratory troubles caused by opioid overdoses. The companies developed a nasal-spray dispenser that administers a 4-milligram dose without assembly, training or needle injection. The donation was made Thursday at The Chicago Recovery Alliance office. The alliance was given 600 doses. The Illinois Department of Public Health will distribute 3,400 doses to Illinois State Police and the Department of Corrections. And 1,000 doses will be distributed to McHenry County Substance Abuse Coalition. Gov. Bruce Rauner accepted the donation with Lt Gov. Evelyn Sanguinetti and Public Health Director Dr. Nirav Shah. Sanguinetti and Shah head the Opioid Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force that Rauner created December.
Illinois courts adjusting to state's new bail reform law
Quincy Herald-Whig | AP, 2/12/18
Courts across Illinois have had about a month to adjust to the requirements of the new bail reform law that took effect Jan. 1. Gov. Bruce Rauner signed the Bail Reform Act in the summer that requires courts to consider a detainee's circumstances when setting conditions of release or imposing monetary bail, The Quincy Herald-Whig reported. The law requires a lawyer to be present at the initial court appearance for anyone arrested. The law aims to release defendants without requiring they post cash bail if they don't pose a reasonable threat to the community and are unlikely to flee. "There's a presumption for recognizance bonds," Adams County State's Attorney Gary Farha said. "There can be conditions available." Some conditions of release could include electronic home monitoring, curfews, drug counseling, stay-away orders and in-person reporting. The new law could allow more people facing nonviolent misdemeanor or low-level felonies, such as theft and drug possession to be released on recognizance bonds.
Lawmaker Wants Better Tracking Of Opioid Deaths
NPR Illinois, 2/12/18
Opioid deaths nearly doubled in Sangamon County last year, with heroin as the leading cause in 20 of the 42 opioid-related deaths, according to data retrieved from the county coroner's office. A proposal in the Illinois House would standardize how overdoses are reported across the state. State Rep. John Connor, D-Lockport, believes it will help combat the growing opioid epidemic by providing accurate information to policymakers. "We can [then] look at the crisis with opioids and come up with an evidence-based model," Connor said. The measure would require hospitals and coroners across the state to report the age, gender, race and, if possible, county of residence of the person who overdosed to the Illinois Department of Public Health and the General Assembly. These reports would also include those who experienced an opioid overdose and lived.
Walgreens expands drug take-back program
The Pantagraph, 2/12/18
Walgreens, with several partners, announced Monday it is expanding its number of safe medication disposal kiosks nationwide from 600 to 1,500. In Illinois, the number is increasing by 40, meaning there will be more than 80 kiosks at Walgreen pharmacies where people can safely and anonymously drop off unused and no-longer-needed medicines, including prescription opioids, said Marcel Naddaf, Walgreens regional healthcare director. Naddaf made the announcement in front of the kiosk at the 24/7 pharmacy in Walgreens at 1525 N. Veterans Parkway, Bloomington. The five other Walgreens stores in B-N do not currently have kiosks. Since Walgreens opened its first kiosk in spring 2016, the pharmacy has collected more than 155 tons of unwanted medications from 600 kiosks in 45 states and the District of Columbia, Naddaf said.
Marshall County sets up drug disposal box
Peoria Journal-Star, 2/8/18
The Marshall County Sheriff's Office has installed a 24-hour drug dropbox for disposal of unused or expired medications, and one will be on the way soon to the Henry Police Department as well. The re-painted and re-purposed mailbox has been set up in the office's lobby, just inside the front door. It will be available round-the-clock to anyone needing to get rid of opioids or other medications, including those for pets, so they will be properly disposed of. "This is a 'no questions asked' site, meaning if unlawful drugs or controlled substances are brought in for disposal, there will be no questions as to who or where they came from," Sheriff Rob Russell emphasized. Visitors to the office do need to press a security doorbell to be buzzed in. The dropboxes must be in locations that are either staffed 24/7 or have round-the-clock video surveillance, the sheriff said.
Research, Reports, and Studies
Upsurge Of Suburban Poor Discover Health Care's Nowhere Land
Kaiser Health News, 2/9/18
Suburbs in the United States, often perceived as enclaves of the affluent, are home to nearly 17 million Americans who live in poverty - more than in cities or rural areas - and growing demand for care strains the capacity of suburban health services to provide for them, according to a recent study in Health Affairs. Suburban areas have historically received a fraction of health funding that cities have, leaving them with inadequate infrastructure and forcing people like Castaneda to scramble for the medical attention they need. The Health Affairs study found that about a fifth of the suburban poor are uninsured, and many who do have health insurance - especially people on Medi-Cal - either can't find providers or must travel far for appointments.
Treating mental illness could save global economy billions - and it's 'costless,' study says
A new report, published Saturday, said that while mental illness was one of the main causes of unhappiness in the world, the net cost of treating it was actually negative. Researchers at the Global Happiness Council also said that mental illness was a "major block" on the global economy as it was found to be the main illness among people of a working age. The most common conditions associated with mental illness are depression and anxiety disorders, the study said.
GOP Congressman Confident Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Act will Pass
Juvenile Justice Information Exchange, 2/8/18
Congress will pass long-awaited juvenile justice reforms this legislative year, a key Republican representative believes. "I'm going to go out on a limb and say yes," Jason Lewis, R-Minnesota, said in an interview here last week. "I think we're getting close. I'm confident we will, because we need to." The Juvenile Justice Delinquency and Prevention Act hasn't been reauthorized in two decades. Lewis and Virginia Democratic Rep. Bobby Scott pushed through a host of reforms in HR 1809, which passed the House unanimously. (Both Lewis and Scott are members of the House Committee on Education and The Workforce.) A similar bill passed the Senate, but it has stopped there because Sen. Tom Cotton, R-Arkansas, has demanded that House Republicans strip out language forbidding judges from jailing youths for status offenses - running away from home, ditching school, etc. - before the bill goes to conference committee.
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.