MMJ America Founder Launches Hemp and CBD Company

A new hemp and CBD company has hit Colorado retail outlets, and the founder has a familiar name to Colorado marijuana. Jake Salazar, the founder of Denver dispensary chain MMJ America, has moved on to launch Solari Hemp, a line of hemp and CBD gummies, lotions, gel capsules, tinctures and more.

Solari co-founders Salazar, Colin Gallagher and Myorr Janha spent over a year planning their new company, from designing the product lines to having the right genetics in place for a successful hemp crop.

“We founded the company on the vertical integration model,” Gallagher says. “We wanted to create a company with real partnerships, so our farmers are our equity partners, and we have strategic partners in different parts of the company.”

Through a vertical integration model, Solari Hemp has partnered with fourth-generation farmers who are currently manufacturing products from hemp grown over 150 acres of farmland in Eaton and Longmont. The company has control over every production step from seed to shelf, including cultivation, extraction and manufacturing. Solari will also sell wholesale industrial hemp to other infused-product manufacturers, as well as white label for other brands.

MMJ America Founder Launches Hemp and CBD Company

Courtesy of Solari Hemp

“It’s the most efficient and cost-effective way to produce a quality product and offer it to consumers at an affordable price,” explains Salazar.

The founder and former CEO of MMJ America, one of the first medical and recreational dispensary chains in Denver, says he sold his share of the company and left a little over two years ago. According to Salazar, there is greater opportunity in the hemp industry.

Marijuana Deals Near You

“I wanted to get away from the traditional marijuana industry and dive into something more cutting-edge,” he says. “Hemp is this gateway to clinical studies, and has different types of cannabinoids that can help people that aren’t as prominent in the marijuana industry.”

Legal approval from the feds and easier state regulations than legal pot has doesn’t hurt, either. Unlike state-licensed marijuana businesses such as MMJ America, Solari Hemp can sell its products online and even ship them across state lines. And by focusing on familiar wellness items like lotion and gel capsules, the brand believes it can reach even more consumers.

“People use vitamins or supplements on a daily basis,” Gallagher says. “We wanted to create a line of products that people would feel comfortable with and have at least some prior experience with. The goal was to gear the brand to cater to everyone and anyone trying to better themselves.”

Solari products are now sold online and at health and wellness, pharmacy, convenience, tobacco and grocery stores across the country, according to the company.

Toke of the Town

Is Your State One of the ‘Most Obese’ in America?

By Robert Preidt
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, Sept. 12, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The number of U.S. states with adult obesity rates above 35% reached an all-time high of nine in 2018, a new report says.

In 2018, the nine states with adult obesity rates above 35% were: Alabama, Arkansas, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, Missouri, North Dakota and West Virginia.

That’s two more than the year before. As recently as 2012, no state topped 35%, according to the report. It also pointed to statistically significant increases in adult obesity rates in 33 states between 2013 and 2018.

“These latest data shout that our national obesity crisis is getting worse,” said John Auerbach, president and CEO of the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), the nonprofit group behind the 16th annual “State of Obesity: Better Policies for a Healthier America” report.

The report showed considerable variation from state to state. The five with the highest rates were Mississippi and West Virginia (39.5%), Arkansas (37.1%), Louisiana (36.8%) and Kentucky (36.6%).

The lowest obesity rates were in Colorado (23%), District of Columbia (24.7%), Hawaii (24.9%), and Massachusetts and New Jersey (25.7%).

“Almost 50 years into the upward curve of obesity rates we haven’t yet found the right mix of programs to stop the epidemic,” Auerbach said in a TFAH news release.

“Isolated programs and calls for lifestyle changes aren’t enough. Instead, our report highlights the fundamental changes that are needed in the social and economic conditions that make it challenging for people to eat healthy foods and get sufficient exercise,” he added.

Obesity increases the risk of serious health problems, such as type 2 diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke and many cancers.

It also increases U.S. health care spending by an estimated $ 149 million a year — about half of which is paid for by Medicare and Medicaid. And excess weight is the most common reason young adults are ineligible for military service, according to TFAH.

Those at greatest risk for obesity include people with lower incomes and people of color. They are more likely to live in areas where healthy food is hard to find, opportunities for physical activity are scarce and marketing of unhealthy foods is widespread, the report said.


Among adults, the latest data show that as of 2015-2016, about 47% of Hispanic and black Americans were obese, compared with about 38% of whites and nearly 13% of Asians.

Childhood obesity rates were highest among Hispanics (25.8%) and blacks (22%), compared with 14% of whites and 11% of Asians, the findings showed.

The report includes 31 recommendations for policy action by federal, state and local governments to improve access to nutritious foods, provide safe opportunities for physical activity, and limit harmful food marketing and advertising tactics.

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SOURCE: Trust for America’s Health, news release, Sept. 12, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Ask a Stoner: Has America Fallen Behind in Legal Pot?

Dear Stoner: Does America still have a competitive spot among the rest of the world in the legal-cannabis space? Are we still leading?

Dear Rece: Hard to tell if we ever were leading, honestly. I guess we could’ve claimed leadership after Colorado and Washington legalized recreational cannabis, but that was more of a state thing than a national move. Even with over thirty states now allowing medical marijuana use and ten approving recreational pot, cannabis policy is still a mess at the federal level. Considering that Canada just legalized marijuana nationwide, and Israel, Australia and such Western European countries as Germany and the Netherlands continue to embrace it medically, America is behind the curve in both the research and investment sectors.

Ask a Stoner: Has America Fallen Behind in Legal Pot?

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Even hemp legalization in the United States is stuck with the stagnant Farm Bill. If we don’t start moving fast, we could lose our hemp edge to Canada just as we did with cannabis. Or we might get shown up by China, which was responsible for nearly one-third of global hemp sales in 2017 and whose market is expected to keep growing, according to cannabis analytics firm New Frontier Data.

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Toke of the Town

Drug Free America Believes Legal Weed Exploits the Opioid Epidemic

Advocates often say that legal marijuana has the potential to combat America’s opioid crisis, but anti-pot groups are claiming just the opposite. In a recent letter sent to legislators in states with forms of legal marijuana, drug-prevention organization Drug Free America claims that pot use is associated with an increased risk of abusing prescription opioids and warns against using medical marijuana to treat opioid-use disorder.

Despite numerous media reports on marijuana’s role in declining opioid deaths in states with legal pot laws, DFA says people are losing sight of the big picture. “The marijuana lobby is pushing states to expand medical marijuana access to include opioid use disorders. The evidence that increased access to marijuana has reduced opioid overdose deaths however is weak and shortsighted,” the letter reads.

Sent to elected representatives in states “where the marijuana lobby is pushing a false and dangerous narrative,” the letter cites a study from the National Institute on Drug Abuse, which found respondents reporting pot use within the past year had 2.2 times higher odds than non-users for having a prescription opioid-use disorder and 2.6 times greater odds of abusing them.

“The current opioid epidemic in the U.S. has been universally recognized as one of the most important public health issues to date,” the letter reads. “Opioids have dominated drug policy and funding discussions at both the state and federal level, and now Big Marijuana is moving in to profit from this health care crisis.”

DFA isn’t the only anti-pot group that believes legal marijuana will increase the opioid problem. A recent report from Smarter Approaches to Marijuana and the Marijuana Accountability Coalition also claims a link between legal marijuana and opioid use, and both blame “big marijuana” as the culprit. But there are several studies that counter that stance, notes Aclara Research founder Carmen Brace.

“There are some holes within the assessment,” she says. “Overall, the positive impact of using cannabis for chronic pain is becoming more and more established in the cannabis community.” According to Aclara’s recent study with over 400 Illinois medical marijuana patients, 87 percent of respondents used opioids before using marijuana, with 67 percent of those patients stopping their opioid use afterwards.

A study published in the American Journal of Public Health in 2017 that analyzed opioid overdoses in Colorado from 2000 to 2015 found a reduction of 0.7 deaths from opioid overdoses per month following retail marijuana legalization in 2014, when the decades-long upward trend actually started going down.

Brace takes issue with the DFA letter’s claim that “nationwide efforts” and “legislative measures” are significantly combating the crisis, particularly since it cites no such measures. According to the letter, increased access to overdose reversal medication Naloxone, Medicated Assisted Treatment programs that disperse methadone and buprenorphine, and increased legal protection for those who assist a person who is experiencing an overdose are all working to decrease opioid addiction, as are prescription drug-monitoring programs, further regulating pain clinics and prosecuting unethical prescribers.

“It indicates there have been a variety of policy changes in overdose prevention, but they’re not accounted for in the letter,” Brace says, noting that despite all of the lawmaking efforts listed by the DFA, opioid-related deaths continue to rise nationwide. “The National Institutes of Health data on opioid deaths completely debunks that myth. When we look at opioid deaths across the U.S. from 2002 to 2015, it has risen every year.”

The Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment denied a request in 2010 to add “opioid dependence” to its list of qualified medical marijuana conditions. The request was denied before it could appear in front of the Colorado Board of Health, according to the CPHE, and no other request to add an opioid-related affliction to the list of medical marijuana conditions has come across the board since.

Toke of the Town

Top 25 Marijuana Strains Across North America in January

For January, online search results for Jack Herer, Tangie, Blueberry, Banana OG, Strawberry Cough, Grape Ape, and Do-Si-Dos eclipsed hundreds of other hybrids, making them some of North America’s most searched strains during the first month of 2018. Since the start of the new year, recreational marijuana prices continued to decline in California, Colorado, Oregon, […]

Asthma in America Carries $82 Billion Price Tag

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Jan. 12, 2018 (HealthDay News) — The economic cost of asthma in the United States is nearly $ 82 billion a year, federal health officials report.

That figure includes medical expenses and costs associated with work and school absences and deaths.

However, the true cost of asthma is probably underestimated because the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention study did not include people with untreated asthma.

The new analysis was based on federal government data, collected from 2008 to 2013. It showed that about 15.4 million people were treated for asthma each year. The annual per-person medical cost of asthma was $ 3,266.

Of that per-person amount, $ 1,830 was for prescriptions, $ 640 for office visits, $ 529 for hospitalizations, $ 176 for hospital outpatient visits and $ 105 for emergency room care.

Asthma-related deaths cost $ 29 billion a year, with an average of 3,168 deaths a year.

Asthma resulted in 8.7 million lost work days and 5.2 million lost school days a year, for a combined annual cost of $ 3 billion.

The findings were published online Jan. 12 in the Annals of the American Thoracic Society.

“The cost of asthma is one of the most important measures of the burden of the disease,” study lead author Tursynbek Nurmagambetov, a health economist at the CDC, said in a journal news release. “Cost studies can influence health policy decisions and help decision makers understand the scale, seriousness and implications of asthma so that resources can be identified to improve disease management and reduce the burden of asthma.”

The findings show “the critical need to support and further strengthen asthma control strategies,” Nurmagambetov said.

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SOURCE:Annals of the American Thoracic Society, news release, Jan. 12, 2018

Copyright © 2013-2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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25 Most Popular Cannabis Strains Across North America in December

During the Season of Giving, it was Alien OG, Tahoe OG, and Animal Cookies that inflamed the enthusiasm of online consumers – making them some of North America’s most searched strains in December While California finally unleashed the economic forces of retail marijuana sales on Jan. 1, 2018, Nevada became the fourth state to roll […]

Chinese Official Says Stupid Thing About Legalization in America

A Chinese official recently said a very stupid thing about marijuana legalization in America. The official, Yu Haibin of the China National Narcotics Control Commission, said that legalization makes Americans more accepting of drugs. This, he claimed, is a major reason the U.S. is experiencing an opioid epidemic.

Despite the evidence showing legalization actually reduces the use of opioids in a state, Yu blamed legalization for elevating opioid use. To be fair, he also blamed the overprescription of opioids caused by massive pharmaceutical companies, which is a totally accurate criticism.

Yu was discussing the opioid issue because much of the opioids being purchased illicitly by Americans comes from China. This includes the dangerous opioid fentanyl, which is 50 times stronger than heroin. “China doesn’t deny that shipments to the U.S. happen, but there isn’t the proof to show how much — whether it’s 20 percent or 80 percent,” he said. He’s trying to say China isn’t importing most of these opioids, but he provides no evidence.

Essentially, Yu wrongly blamed legalization of cannabis for the opioid epidemic and accurately blamed the overprescription of opioids. He said one stupid thing and one smart thing. Being half right isn’t too bad, I guess.

[Photo by Matthias Mendler/Flickr]

The 420 Times

25 Most Popular Cannabis Strains Across North America in November

Online search results for Forbidden Fruit, Blackberry Kush, and Durban Poison indicate they were but a few of the consistently searched strains for the month of November. As we collectively recuperate from the traditional Thanksgiving Day feast and prepare for the Season of Giving, North America’s 2017 outdoor harvest season is officially over. And with […]

CDC Wants America to Eat Its Fruits & Veggies

THURSDAY, Nov. 16, 2017 — Fruits and vegetables can be delicious and nutritious — but too many Americans are still passing them by, a new report finds.

Just 9 percent of adults eat enough vegetables and only 12 percent get the recommended amount of fruit daily, according to a new report from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Vitamins, minerals, fiber and other good stuff in fruits and vegetables can help ward off heart disease, type 2 diabetes, some cancers and obesity.

But just one in 10 adults is eating more fruits and vegetables than recommended in the government’s 2015-2020 dietary guidelines.

How much is enough? One-and-a-half to two cups of fruit, or its equivalent, and two to three cups of vegetables daily.

Men fare worse than women on the fruits-and-veggies scorecard. And by age, young adults, aged 18 to 30, are less inclined to eat their greens, broccoli and bananas than older folks.

“Continued efforts are needed to identify and address barriers to fruit and vegetable consumption,” wrote researchers led by Seung Hee Lee-Kwan, of the CDC’s National Center for Chronic Disease Prevention and Health Promotion.

High cost and limited availability may prevent some Americans from following the guidelines. Also, the misperception that vegetables and fruits require extra prep time could put some people off, the study authors said.

Actually, for vegetables, often the simplest preparation is the best, a New York registered dietitian said.

“There are few vegetables that you can’t cut up, drizzle with olive oil, season with a little salt and herbs, and roast in an oven or toaster-oven,” said Stephanie Schiff, of Northwell Health’s Huntington Hospital. “They will be delicious.”

For the new report, the CDC used data from a 2015 national survey to update 2013 findings. Participants were asked how many times in the previous month they ate 100-percent fruit juice; whole fruit; dried beans; dark green vegetables; orange vegetables; and other vegetables.

States reported significant differences, with fruit intake at a low of 7 percent in West Virginia and a high of almost 16 percent in Washington, D.C. Vegetable consumption was even lower — ranging from about 6 percent in West Virginia to 12 percent in Alaska.

All socioeconomic groups scored poorly. However, the wealthiest Americans were more likely than others to meet vegetable requirements, the investigators found.

Schiff said buying fruits and vegetables in season — like apples in the fall — can cut costs. “And if fresh fruits and vegetables aren’t available, frozen or canned can be just as good,” she said.

“Frozen vegetables are picked at their peak ripeness, and are a wonderful option,” said Schiff, who wasn’t involved in the research.

By eating fruits and vegetables in different colors, especially dark colors, you can take full advantage of the antioxidants plants have to offer, she noted. Antioxidants can protect cells and help ward off conditions such as heart disease and cancer, she added.

Heather Seid, clinical nutrition manager at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City, called fruits and vegetables “miraculous foods that impact the body from the inside out.” Besides protecting you from disease, they contribute to healthy skin, hair and nails, she explained.

“Fruits and vegetables are incredibly versatile,” Seid said. “You don’t have to eat steamed veggies or raw fruit to get the benefits — be creative!”

For example, try roasting an apple with cinnamon and nutmeg for a sweet and nutritious dessert, or puree cauliflower with low-fat milk and olive oil for a fun mashed potato substitute, she suggested.

Some of Schiff’s and Seid’s other suggestions:

  • Keep cut-up fruits or vegetables in the refrigerator — on the middle shelf, not in the produce bins where they are often forgotten.
  • Eat raw veggies with a yogurt-based dip, hot veggies with a sprinkle of cheese.
  • Grill, roast, or saute vegetables with marinades to find what you like best.
  • Try apples or celery with peanut butter.
  • Mix fruit into a salad, toss with yogurt or blend into a smoothie.
  • Keep a bowl of fruit on the kitchen counter, in plain sight.

The findings are published in the Nov. 17 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

More information

For more on healthy eating, see the Dietary Guidelines for Americans.

©2017 HealthDay.

All rights reserved.

Posted: November 2017

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25 Most Popular Strains Across North America in October

Elevated on the 25 Most Popular Strains list for the month of October, Tangie, Wedding Cake, and Forbidden Fruit sparked the interest of online shoppers as they headed into Halloween. For October, the retail marijuana price index for an eighth of state-sanctioned cannabis witnessed a noteworthy decline, which should be expected. Harvest time, a.k.a. October […]

Surviving Violence in America: What to Do

Oct. 6, 2017 — The massacre this week in Las Vegas didn’t just start debates about gun control and get sympathy for the victims and their loved ones. It highlighted a terrible truth for Americans: We should know what to do if we have to deal with mass violence.

Predicting such random and horrific events is impossible. But public safety experts and medical officials say we can boost our odds of survival by what we do before, during, and after an attack.

Before the Event

Within seconds, festivalgoers who saw others being shot in Las Vegas became first responders, experts say. Being ready for such emergencies could help.

“Get trained in CPR and first aid,” suggests Sheldon Marks, MD, a doctor in Tucson, AZ, who volunteers with the city’s Police Department SWAT team and has trained others how to handle active shooter situations.

The first-aid class should teach how to apply tourniquets and to dress wounds, he says.

At the Event

When you arrive at a venue, check out the exits, Derevyanny says. “There is always more than one way to exit,” she says. Figure out your Plan B when you arrive. It might be a window, not a door.

Once in a public place, pay close attention to gut feelings and that ”hair standing up on your neck” phenomenon that suggests something is off, says Derevyanny. “If something seems off, or strange, report it to authorities.”

For instance, she says, if you are at a public venue and notice everyone taking photos, that’s typical. However, she says, if you suddenly notice someone taking pictures of the heating and cooling system, or something else unusual, that bears reporting.

If you’re at an outdoor summer concert and someone there has a bulky jacket on, that, too, is suspicious, she says. “Just be very aware of anything in your workplace or social life that is out of place or very odd,” she says. “If it makes the hair on the back of your neck stand up, it’s time to call it in.”

During the Violence

Public safety experts have a mantra: Run, hide, fight. Escaping is the first choice, if possible; if not, hiding might be next best. The last resort, of course, is to fight.

“Every situation is different,” Derevyanny says. “In the case of Las Vegas, everyone needed to run. There was no place to hide.”

When you run, Marks says, be aware that law enforcement, when on the scene, may be looking for other suspects. ”Run in a way you are not perceived as a threat,” he says.

If you have any object that might look like a weapon, for instance, don’t carry it that way.

Speed is crucial. “Don’t go back for your backpack or purse,” Marks says. “People die trying to get their stuff.”

As you run, try to look ahead and plan ahead — you don’t want to end up in a dead end or in a room with only one entrance and exit.

Hide behind something that not only conceals you but protects you, if possible. A steel door is better than a curtain, but you may have no choice. If you find a safe place, stay there and be quiet. Turn off the ringer on your phone.

Trying to fight the attacker should be a last resort, the Department of Homeland Security says. But if you do, try to incapacitate him. “Act with physical aggression,” the agency says, and use any item you can as a weapon.

Call 911 when you’re sure it’s safe.

After the Violence

If you become a first responder to someone with a gunshot wound, the goal is hemorrhage control, says Corey Slovis, MD, a professor and chairman of emergency medicine at Vanderbilt University Medical Center.

Make a tourniquet out of anything around, he says, such as a belt or ripped clothing. ”Tie it as high on the extremity [above the wound] as possible,” he says. “It’s only tight enough if it hurts.”

Put it over a single bone, not two, he says, because that better compresses the blood vessel to stop the bleeding.

Many doctors want more public access to tourniquets, with a goal of saving more gunshot victims, says Slovis, who’s also medical director for the Metro Nashville Fire Department and Nashville International Airport.

In October, 2015, the White House launched “Stop the Bleed,” a national awareness campaign and call to action. It encourages bystanders to become trained and equipped to help in a bleeding emergency before professional help arrives.

The campaign advises these steps:

  • Move the person to safety if needed.
  • Apply firm and steady pressure to the bleeding site with both hands.
  • Apply a dressing and press.
  • If bleeding continues, apply a tourniquet.

When it is safe to do so, ask if there is a place for survivors to reunite with family, Derevyanny says. If so, check in there.

Often, law enforcement officials will want to get information from anyone at the scene of the shootings so they can investigate, she says.


Sheldon Marks, MD, physician, Tucson, AZ, and volunteer, Tucson Police Department SWAT team.

Natalia Derevyanny, spokeswoman, Cook County, IL, Department of Homeland Security & Emergency Management.

Corey Slovis, MD, professor and chairman of emergency medicine, Vanderbilt University Medical Center; medical director, Metro Nashville Fire Department and Nashville International Airport.

U.S. Department of Homeland Security: Stop the Bleed campaign.

Mother Jones.

© 2017 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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Suicide Up in U.S., Rural America Hit Hardest

By Mary Elizabeth Dallas

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Oct. 6, 2017 (HealthDay News) — Suicide in the United States is on the upswing, with rural Americans more likely to take their own lives than residents of urban counties, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports.

“While we’ve seen many causes of death come down in recent years, suicide rates have increased more than 20 percent from 2001 to 2015. And this is especially concerning in rural areas,” said CDC director Dr. Brenda Fitzgerald.

“We need proven prevention efforts to help stop these deaths and the terrible pain and loss they cause,” Fitzgerald said in an agency news release.

Between 2001 and 2015, more than 500,000 people took their own lives in the United States. Rates in rural areas were consistently higher than those in cities across all age groups, with working-age adults (aged 35 to 64) most at risk, the new report revealed.

Moreover, by 2015, suicide was the 10th leading cause of death in the United States. Native Americans and whites seemed especially vulnerable, the investigators found.

For the study, Asha Ivey-Stephenson and colleagues at the CDC’s National Center for Injury Prevention and Control analyzed death-certificate data from the National Vital Statistics System. The researchers compared trends in suicide rates in rural counties to suicide rates in large and small metropolitan counties.

Overall, rural counties saw 17 suicides per 100,000 people, compared to about 15 per 100,000 in medium/small metropolitan counties and just under 12 per 100,000 in large metropolitan counties.

Race and gender also played a role, with males up to five times more likely to end their lives than women, regardless of where they lived, the findings showed.

The study also found that blacks in rural regions were less likely to die by suicide than blacks in urban areas.

In cities, suicide rates were highest among whites; in rural areas, suicide was most prevalent among American Indian/Alaska Natives.

All regions saw increases in suicide by firearms and hanging/suffocation, but rural residents were almost twice as likely to use guns as people in urban areas, according to the report.


James Mercy is director of CDC’s Division of Violence Prevention. He said, “The trends in suicide rates by sex, race, ethnicity, age, and mechanism that we see in the general population are magnified in rural areas.”

According to Mercy, “This report underscores the need for suicide prevention strategies that are tailored specifically for these communities.”

One such program, called Sources of Strength, was developed with rural and tribal communities in North Dakota. At its core is an attempt to understand socioeconomic factors affecting suicide rates, the CDC authors noted in their report.

Help with suicide prevention is available 24 hours a day by calling the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline at 1-800-273-TALK (8255).

The study findings were published in the Oct. 6 issue of the CDC’s Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report.

WebMD News from HealthDay


SOURCES: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, news release, Oct. 5, 2017; Oct. 6, 2017,Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report

Copyright © 2013-2017 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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