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As Disease Outbreaks Tied to ‘Anti-Vaxxers’ Rise, States Take Action

TUESDAY, Nov. 19, 2019 — Outbreaks of vaccine-preventable diseases are on the across rise in the United States, often fueled by “anti-vaxxer” parents reluctant to immunize their kids.

However, states are countering these trends with laws to boost childhood vaccination rates and safeguard children, a new study finds.

“Vaccines are our best public health tool for controlling many childhood diseases,” said lead author Neal Goldstein of Drexel University, in Philadelphia.

“Seeing an uptick in legislation aimed at cutting vaccine exemptions following disease outbreaks suggests that media coverage may raise public awareness and advocacy and response from legislators,” Goldstein said in a university news release.

“While it is unfortunate it took outbreaks of preventable disease to spawn legislative action, it further affirms the widespread support of this life-saving intervention,” he added. Goldstein is an assistant research professor of epidemiology and biostatistics in Drexel’s School of Public Health.

Recent outbreaks of illnesses such as measles or whooping cough in California (2015) and New York (2019) led lawmakers in those states to ban all non-medical vaccine exemptions.

To see if that trend was widespread, Goldstein’s team analyzed 2010 to 2016 state data on outbreaks of 12 childhood vaccine-preventable diseases, including hepatitis A and B, flu, measles and whooping cough.

The investigators also examined 2011 to 2017 data on state bills introduced the year after the start of an outbreak that would tighten or ease vaccination requirements for these diseases.

Each state reported an average of 25 vaccine-preventable diseases per 100,000 people per year, but there was significant year-to-year variation.

Of the 175 state vaccination-related bills proposed during 2011 to 2017, about 53% made it easier to get an exemption from vaccine requirements, while 47% made exemption more difficult.

While there were more anti-vaccine bills than pro-vaccine bills introduced overall, further analysis showed that increases in vaccine-preventable diseases were followed by increases in the number of proposed bills that restricted vaccine exemptions.

There was no association between decreases in vaccine-preventable diseases and proposed bills that made it easier to get vaccine exemptions, according to the study. The results were published Nov. 18 in JAMA Pediatrics.

Legislation to reduce vaccine exemptions is needed in the United States, the study authors said. Measles was declared eliminated in the United States in 2000, but there were 695 cases in 22 states in April 2019, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has more on vaccines.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: November 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

‘Cannabis Use Disorder’ Up in States That Legalized Recreational Pot

WEDNESDAY, Nov. 13, 2019 — States that legalized recreational marijuana have seen an increase in problematic pot use among teens and adults aged 26 and older, a new study finds.

The researchers compared marijuana use in Colorado, Washington, Alaska and Oregon — the first four states to legalize recreational marijuana — before and after legalization. The investigators also compared trends in those states with states that did not legalize recreational marijuana.

“There are, indeed, important social benefits that legalizing marijuana can provide, particularly around issues of equity in criminal justice,” said lead author Magdalena Cerda. She’s director of the Center for Opioid Epidemiology and Policy at NYU Langone Health, in New York City.

However, “our findings suggest that as more states move toward legalizing marijuana for recreational use, we also need to think about investing in substance use prevention and treatment to prevent unintended harms — particularly among adolescents,” Cerda added in an NYU news release.

The study authors examined marijuana use and frequent use (more than 20 days) in the past month, and problematic marijuana use (also called “cannabis use disorder”) over the past year. Signs of problematic use include increased tolerance, repeated attempts to control use or quit, spending a lot of time using, social problems due to use, and ignoring other activities in order to use.

The rate of problematic use among teens aged 12 to 17 rose from 2.18% to 2.72% after legalization, and was 25% higher than in non-recreational states. But there was no change in rates of past-month or frequent use.

Among adults 26 or older, past-month marijuana use after legalization was 26% higher than in non-recreational states. Past-month frequent use rose by 23% and past-year problematic use rose by 37%.

Among young adults aged 18 to 25, there was no increase in past-month, frequent or problematic marijuana use after legalization, according to the study. The findings were published online Nov. 13 in JAMA Psychiatry.

According to study senior author Dr. Silvia Martins, “Cannabis use disorder in adolescence is associated with long-term adverse health, economic and social consequences.” She is an associate professor of epidemiology at Columbia University Mailman School of Public Health, in New York City.

“Given our findings on problematic use across age groups, legalization efforts should coincide with prevention and treatment,” Martins said in the news release.

“The general public should be informed about both benefits and potential harms of marijuana products to make informed decisions,” Martins added.

Recreational marijuana use is legal in 11 states and Washington, D.C. Medical marijuana use is legal in 33 states, the study authors noted.

More information

The U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse has more about marijuana.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: November 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

CDC: Youth Pot Use Dropped in States After Legalization, Including Colorado

According to a recently published study from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, youth marijuana use decreased in the nation’s first three states to legalize recreational pot.

The CDC study, released October 4, reports that marijuana use among children in sixth to tenth grade residing in King County, Washington — the state’s most populated county and home to the Seattle metro area — actually dropped from 2012 to 2016. Further, the CDC study reported that youth marijuana use in Colorado and Oregon followed the same trend. All three states legalized recreational marijuana sales by 2015.

Two possible reasons cited by the CDC for the decline or absence of youth marijuana use were the possibility of the plant losing its novelty appeal, as well as the reduction of the illicit market in states with regulated sales.

However, it’s important to note that the study’s authors say that legalization’s effects “might be delayed,” and that the time frame of the study didn’t occur during “the more recent surge in e-cigarette use by youth and the use of tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) within electronic cigarette (e-cigarette) devices.”

Marijuana Deals Near You

Dr. Ashley Brooks-Russell serves as project director for the Healthy Kids Colorado Survey, a bi-annual study from the state Department of Public Health and Environment that monitors youth drug use. According to Brooks-Russell, there isn’t a clear explanation as to why Colorado hasn’t seen a rise in youth marijuana use since retail pot was legalized. However, she does believe that more protective parenting with regard to marijuana and drug use has increased.

“We’re in an age of protective parenting, where adolescence is being extended into adulthood,” she says. “It’s being protected longer, and parents are learning to become more aware of their kids’ activities.”

The CDPHE has been trying to push Colorado parents toward a more engaging role in their kids’ social lives and potential peer pressures, according to CDPHE marijuana communications specialist Tara Dunn, who says kids who feel like they can talk to their parents or another trusted adult about substance use are less likely to use marijuana.

“Parents play an important role in preventing youth marijuana use,” she says. “Educating kids about marijuana early and keeping that conversation going is really important.”

And that conversation doesn’t really end as kids grow up. Kids are always changing interests and friend groups, Dunn adds, so it’s important for parents to be aware of social and stress factors in their kids’ lives, and continue maintaining an engaged role.

Brooks-Russell also advocates for “parental monitoring,” and says parents should always work to improve communication with their kids. Setting clear family expectations and knowing a child’s friend circle helps parents stay aware of what environment their kids are in outside of the house, she says.

“Parents need to have a conversation and make it clear what their expectations are,” she says. “It’s important to help their kids avoid situations that might cause drug use, such as not knowing who their kids hang out with or leaving their kids home alone.”

According to a 2018 survey from Healthy Kids Colorado, kids who know their parents disapprove of underage marijuana use are 72 percent less likely to start using, while kids who have other trusted adults they can talk to about their problems are 30 percent less likely to try marijuana. School performance can also be a factor in youth marijuana use, according to to the survey, as 28 percent of students who receive affirmation for their work are less likely to use marijuana.

“Kids who don’t feel connected or feel good in school may affiliate with other teens who use drugs,” Brooks-Russell explains. “And drug use is affiliated with poor school performance.”

For parents who may not be sure about how to talk to their kids about marijuana, Colorado has several statewide campaigns that teach both parents and kids about the effects of marijuana use. The CDPHE currently funds five community organizations that serve eleven counties to teach adults about youth marijuana use, while websites such as responsibilitygrowshere.com can be online sources for parents to learn more about youth marijuana use.

“Educating yourself is important,” Dunn says. “It helps you, and also helps your kids in the long run.”


Toke of the Town

Purdue Files for Bankruptcy Over Opioid Crisis Suits, With Many States Objecting

MONDAY, Sept. 16, 2019 — OxyContin maker Purdue Pharma has filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, touching off what could be a fierce battle by dozens of states hoping to recoup billions spent fighting the opioid crisis.

As reported by The New York Times, there are over 2,600 pending federal and state lawsuits lodged against Purdue, and the pharmaceutical giant has proposed a resolution to most of them as part of its bankruptcy filing. The move was approved Sunday night by Purdue’s board of directors.

However, one group of 26 states has refused to settle with Purdue under the proposed arrangement. That sets the stage for lengthy legal battles between the states, Purdue Pharma and the wealthy Sackler family that owns the company, the Times said.

The first legal fight could occur as early as this week in White Plains, N.Y., the newspaper added.

In a statement, Purdue Chairman Steve Miller said the company’s proposed settlement “will dedicate all of the assets and resources of Purdue for the benefit of the American public. This settlement framework avoids wasting hundreds of millions of dollars and years on protracted litigation, and instead will provide billions of dollars and critical resources to communities across the country trying to cope with the opioid crisis.”

Purdue hopes to restructure following bankruptcy, and in the process trigger an automatic halt to civil litigation against it over the opioid epidemic, the Times said.

The settlement requires the dissolution of Purdue Pharma and the formation of a new “public benefit trust” that would continue to sell OxyContin, the firm’s blockbuster opioid.

Proceeds from the new company would be used to pay the plaintiffs in the lawsuit and combat the opioid epidemic through research and the development of new medicines to treat addiction. Purdue also would donate drugs under development for addiction treatment and overdose reversal.

In its filing, Purdue claims the company is valued at $ 10 billion. However, states opposed to the plan say that number is speculative and could take years to realize. And they add that the Sacklers still plan to run another pharmaceutical business, a British company called Mundipharma, until it is sold off. Finally, the states contend that settling the lawsuits through the continued sale of Oxycontin helps the Sackler family itself avoid any monetary penalty.

In a statement, the Sackler family said it had “deep compassion for the victims of the opioid crisis,” the Times reported. “We are hopeful that in time, those parties who are not yet supportive will ultimately shift their focus to the critical resources that the settlement provides to people and problems that need them.”

The Chapter 11 filing comes just one day after New York Attorney General Letitia James announced evidence of almost a billion dollars in previously undisclosed wire transfers from Purdue to private accounts held by Sackler family members.

In a statement released earlier this month about the proposed bankruptcy settlement, Connecticut Attorney General William Tong said that, “I cannot speak to other states or divulge confidential negotiations, but Connecticut has not agreed to any settlement. The scope and scale of the pain, death and destruction that Purdue and the Sacklers have caused far exceeds anything that has been offered thus far.”

More than 200,000 people have died from prescription opioid overdoses since 1999, according to federal statistics. Another 200,000 have died due to overdoses from illicit opioids such as heroin and fentanyl.

More information

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have more about the opioid epidemic.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: September 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Massive Fireworks Recall in Three States

June 27, 2019 — Days before July Fourth celebrations across the country, federal officials have ordered a recall of almost 40,000 fireworks sold in three states because they’re too powerful.

The Consumer Product Safety Commission (CPSC) has recalled products from:

  • Grandma’s Fireworks in Indiana
  • GS Fireworks in Michigan
  • Patriot Pyrotechnics/Bill’s Fireworks in Michigan
  • Keystone Fireworks in Pennsylvania

These recalled fireworks are overloaded with pyrotechnics intended to produce a booming sound. Overloaded fireworks can result in a bigger than expected explosion, posing blast and burn hazards to consumers.

Grandma’s Fireworks in Indiana had the largest recall: 25,000 pieces from 18 fireworks ranging in price from $ 20 to $ 50 a pack. The recall covers fireworks bought from January 2009 to April 2019. You can go the Consumer Product Safety Commission website to find a full list of recalled products. The commission says two boys were injured using the broken end of one of the recalled products. One of the boys lost a hand in the explosion.

Patriot Pyrotechnics/Bill’s Fireworks in Michigan has 22 fireworks on the recall list. They were sold from January 2017 to July 2018, ranging in price from $ 100 to $ 125. The CPSC also has a full list of recalled products from that company.

Keystone’s recall includes about 1,660 G-Force Fireworks sold at a Pennsylvania location between November 2018 and May 2019. The box of fireworks is about $ 60. The CPSC has a full list of its recalled products.

The GS Fireworks recall includes 26 products sold at stores in Michigan. See the CPSC site for a full list of recalls from that company.

Customers can return any of the recalled products for a full refund and are urged not to use them.

Sources

Consumer Product Safety Commission: “GS Fireworks Recalls Fireworks Due to Violation of Federal Standards; Explosion and Burn Hazards; Sold Exclusively at GS Fireworks,” “Keystone Recalls G-Force Fireworks Due to Violation of Federal Standard; Explosion and Burn Hazards,” “Patriot Pyrotechnics/Bill’s Fireworks Recalls Fireworks Due to Violation of Federal Standards; Explosion and Burn Hazards; Sold Exclusively at Patriot Pyrotechnics,” “Grandma’s Fireworks Recalls Fireworks Due to Violation of Federal Standards; Explosion and Burn Hazards.”

CBS Sacramento: “Nearly 40,000 Fireworks Recalled Ahead Of July 4th.”

© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

House Votes to Protect All Legal Marijuana States

The United States House of Representatives has pushed for more marijuana reform in 2019 than in any prior year, and just approved a bipartisan measure that protects all state pot programs from federal interference.

On June 20, House members voted in favor of prohibiting the Department of Justice from using funds to prevent any American state, territory and Washington, D.C., from approving and implementing laws authorizing marijuana use, distribution, possession and cultivation; they did so through an amendment to the Commerce, Justice, Science, and Related Agencies Appropriations bill.

The amendment — named the Blumenauer-McClintock-Norton amendment after sponsoring representatives Earl Blumenauer (D-Oregon), Tom McClintock (R-California) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-Washington, D.C.) — passed 267-165.

“This is the most significant vote on marijuana reform policy that the House of Representatives has ever taken,” Justin Strekal, political director for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, says in a statement. “Today’s action by Congress highlights the growing power of the marijuana law reform movement and the increasing awareness by political leaders that the policy of prohibition and criminalization has failed.”

Marijuana Deals Near You

Unlike the earlier Rohrabacher-Farr and Leahy amendments, which have successfully protected states with medical marijuana programs since 2014, this new amendment would extend protection to states with recreational marijuana, such as Colorado — the first time an arm of Congress has ever approved such language. The day before, on June 19, House members voted in favor of a similar amendment protecting the marijuana laws of Native American tribes.

“The historic nature of this vote cannot be overstated. For the first time, a chamber of Congress has declared that the federal government should defer to state cannabis laws,” Cannabis Trade Federation CEO Neal Levine says in a statement. “The bipartisan nature of this vote is a strong signal that there would be majority support in the House for the STATES Act, which could be considered a more permanent version of this amendment. We hope the full House will be given the opportunity to vote on the STATES Act in coming months so that we can move closer to the end of federal cannabis prohibition.”

The STATES Act is a separate bill that would leave marijuana regulation up to the states, similar to the way they regulate alcohol. Originally introduced in the Senate last year by Colorado Republican Senator Cory Gardner and Massachusetts Democrat Senator Elizabeth Warren, the bill has received more support in both chambers of Congress this year, but its chances of passing are still slim.

House committees have also been slowly approving a bill from Colorado Congressman Ed Perlmutter that would legalize banking and financial services for marijuana businesses in 2019. That could actually make it out of the House this year, but the Senate, led by noted marijuana-reform blocker Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, isn’t as favorable.

However, the latest round of attempted reform could have a better chance, since it is an amendment attached to a much larger piece of legislation. According to Marijuana Moment’s Tom Angel, it will likely move to the Senate Appropriations Committee, which has been open to protecting state-legal medical marijuana programs in the past — but recreational marijuana is a different question.


Toke of the Town

Most States Restrict Pregnant Women’s Advance Directives: Study

FRIDAY, April 26, 2019 — Laws in half of U.S. states override a pregnant woman’s advance directive if she becomes incapacitated, a new study finds.

And most of those states don’t reveal this in advance directive forms.

An advance directive is a legal document completed by a patient that appoints a surrogate to make health care decisions if the patient becomes unable to do so. It also outlines the person’s health care preferences.

For the new study, Mayo Clinic researchers reviewed advance directive laws in all 50 states and the District of Columbia as of February 2019. The findings showed that 38 states have laws that define pregnancy as a condition that affects decisions for incapacitated pregnant women.

Eight of those states ask for a woman’s pregnancy-specific care preferences. The other 30 limit a woman’s or her surrogate’s decision about withholding or withdrawing life-sustaining treatment. And 25 of those invalidate a woman’s advance directive during pregnancy.

Twelve of the states that forbid withdrawal of life-sustaining treatment require it to continue until the woman’s fetus can be safely delivered, no matter the stage of pregnancy when the mother became ill or injured, the investigators found.

Those states are Alabama, Idaho, Indiana, Kansas, Michigan, Missouri, Oklahoma, South Carolina, Texas, Utah, Washington and Wisconsin.

The study was published in the April issue of the Journal of the American Medical Association.

“Advance directives were designed by lawmakers to safeguard patient autonomy and control over medical circumstances that are difficult to anticipate but that may lead to life-and-death decisions,” said lead author Dr. Erin DeMartino. She’s a pulmonary and critical care doctor at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn.

“It would come as a great surprise to many people that there’s a medical condition in which women’s control of their own health destiny is taken away by the state,” DeMartino added in a Mayo Clinic news release.

Ethics and health law in the United States put a premium on a patient’s treatment preferences, according to the study authors.

“This analysis suggests that a majority of U.S. states restrict the health care options available to decisionally incapacitated women during pregnancy, and do not disclose these restrictions in advance directive forms,” the researchers wrote.

The new study suggests that states need to do a better job informing women how pregnancy affects medical decision-making, DeMartino said.

“It’s of fundamental importance that women understand what they’re signing, and that we are aware of how these types of health care decisions are being influenced by state law,” she added.

More information

The American Academy of Family Physicians has more on advance directives.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: April 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

E. Coli Outbreak Tied to Ground Beef Expands to 10 States

WEDNESDAY, April 24, 2019 — Federal health officials say 156 cases of E. coli illness linked with tainted ground beef have now been spotted across 10 states.

That’s up from the 109 cases reported from six states just two weeks ago, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported Tuesday.

“Ill people in this outbreak report eating ground beef at home and in restaurants,” the CDC said. However, “at this time, no common supplier, distributor or brand of ground beef has been identified.”

The vast majority of hamburgers, meatloaf and other ground beef meals are probably still safe to eat, the agency stressed, and retailers can still sell ground beef in stores.

“CDC is not recommending that consumers avoid eating ground beef at this time,” the CDC said. However, as always, “consumers and restaurants should handle ground beef safely and cook it thoroughly to avoid foodborne illness,” the agency added.

States now affected are Florida, Georgia, Illinois, Indiana, Kentucky, Minnesota, Missouri, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia. Cases appear to be concentrated in Kentucky (65 cases), Tennessee (41) and Georgia (33).

Cases of illness first began to be reported March 1, and the last reported case began on April 7. Although no deaths have been reported, 20 people have been hospitalized because their cases have been so severe, the CDC said.

The investigation is “evolving,” the agency said, adding that “trace-back investigations are ongoing to determine the source of ground beef supplied to grocery stores and restaurant locations where ill people ate.”

This outbreak has been linked to E. coli O103, and the CDC says people typically get sick within three to five days of eating E. coli-contaminated food.

“Most people get diarrhea [often bloody], severe stomach cramps and vomiting,” the agency said. “Most people recover within a week, but some illnesses can last longer and be more severe.”

There are ways you can protect yourself, however. Be sure to wash hands while preparing food, and cook meats thoroughly.

“To kill harmful germs, cook beef steaks and roasts to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit and allow to rest for three minutes after you remove meat from the grill or stove,” the CDC advises. “Cook ground beef and pork to a minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Also, “wash hands, counters, cutting boards and utensils” after touching raw meat, the agency said.

More information

There’s more on E. coli at foodsafety.gov.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: April 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Listeria Outbreak Linked to Deli Meats in 4 States

THURSDAY, April 18, 2019 (HealthDay News) — A listeria outbreak that has sickened eight, including one death, has now been linked to deli meats and cheeses sold at stores in four states, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said Wednesday.

The illnesses in the outbreak, which first began more than two years ago, have been reported in Michigan, New Jersey, New York and Pennsylvania. All eight people were hospitalized, including a patient in Michigan who died, the CDC said in a news release.

“Infection with listeria is an important public health problem in the U.S.,” said Dr. Robert Glatter, an emergency medicine doctor at Lenox Hill Hospital in New York City.

“In general, the disease mainly affects older persons, newborns, and adults with weakened immune systems,” Glatter added. “Pregnant women are also at risk and could suffer stillbirths and miscarriages. Pregnant women are about 10 times more likely than the general population to develop an infection with listeria.”

But he noted that people who are otherwise healthy rarely get sick from the bacteria.

The outbreak strain of listeria was detected in samples taken from meat sliced at a deli and from deli counters in multiple stores. A single, common supplier of deli products linked with the outbreak has not yet been identified, the CDC said.

In the outbreak, two cases of illness were reported in early 2019, and the other six were reported between November 2016 and February 2018.

An initial investigation of three cases of illness in March 2017 did not yield enough information to pinpoint the source of the outbreak, the CDC explained.

The link between the outbreak and deli-sliced products was made with information from the two more recent cases, the agency said.

At this time, the CDC is not advising consumers to avoid eating products prepared at delis, or for stores to stop selling deli-sliced products.

But consumers should clean refrigerators, kitchen countertops, utensils and other surfaces that come into contact with deli-sliced products, the agency said.

Symptoms of listeria infection include headache, stiff neck, confusion, loss of balance and convulsions, in addition to fever and muscle aches. Symptoms typically begin one to four weeks after eating contaminated food. Antibiotics are used to treat the infection.

Pregnant women and their newborns, adults aged 65 and older, and people with weakened immune systems are more likely to get sick with listeria infection, the CDC said.

These groups of people should not eat lunch meats, cold cuts or other deli meats unless they are heated to an internal temperature of 165 degrees Fahrenheit or until they are steaming hot just before serving.


WebMD Health

CDC Investigates Mystery E. Coli Outbreak Affecting 5 States

FRIDAY, April 5, 2019 — U.S. health officials say they are investigating an outbreak of E. coli gastrointestinal illness that’s already affected 72 people across five Eastern states.

The origin of the foodborne illnesses remains unknown, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said late Friday.

“The investigation is still ongoing and a specific food item, grocery store, or restaurant chain has not been identified as the source of infections,” the CDC said in a statement. States affected are Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia.

Cases of illness first began to be reported March 2, and the last reported case occurred March 29. Although no deaths have been reported, “of 47 people with information available, eight have been hospitalized” because their cases have been so severe, the CDC said.

This outbreak has been linked to the E. coli O103 strain of bacterium, and the CDC says people typically get sick within three to five days of eating E. coli-contaminated food.

“Most people get diarrhea (often bloody), severe stomach cramps and vomiting,” the agency said. “Most people recover within a week, but some illnesses can last longer and be more severe.”

There are ways you can protect yourself, however. Be sure to wash hands while preparing food, and cook meats thoroughly.

“To kill harmful germs, cook beef steaks and roasts to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit and allow to rest for three minutes after you remove meat from the grill or stove,” the CDC advises. “Cook ground beef and pork to a minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Also, “wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat,” the agency said.

More information

There’s more on E. coli at foodsafety.gov.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: April 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

CDC Probes Mystery E. Coli Outbreak in 5 States

By EJ Mundell

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, April 5, 2019 (HealthDay News) — U.S. health officials say they are investigating an outbreak of E. coli gastrointestinal illness that’s already affected 72 people across five Eastern states.

The origin of the foodborne illnesses remains unknown, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said late Friday.

“The investigation is still ongoing and a specific food item, grocery store, or restaurant chain has not been identified as the source of infections,” the CDC said in a statement. States affected are Georgia, Kentucky, Ohio, Tennessee and Virginia.

Cases of illness first began to be reported March 2, and the last reported case occurred March 29. Although no deaths have been reported, “of 47 people with information available, eight have been hospitalized” because their cases have been so severe, the CDC said.

This outbreak has been linked to the E. coli O103 strain of bacterium, and the CDC says people typically get sick within three to five days of eating E. coli-contaminated food.

“Most people get diarrhea (often bloody), severe stomach cramps and vomiting,” the agency said. “Most people recover within a week, but some illnesses can last longer and be more severe.”

There are ways you can protect yourself, however. Be sure to wash hands while preparing food, and cook meats thoroughly.

“To kill harmful germs, cook beef steaks and roasts to an internal temperature of at least 145 degrees Fahrenheit and allow to rest for three minutes after you remove meat from the grill or stove,” the CDC advises. “Cook ground beef and pork to a minimum internal temperature of 160 degrees Fahrenheit.”

Also, “wash hands, counters, cutting boards, and utensils after they touch raw meat,” the agency said.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCE: U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, statement, April 5, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

States Raising Smoking Age to Combat Teen Vaping

Nicholas Chadi, MD, Boston Children’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, Boston.

Rob Crane, MD, Ohio State University, Columbus.

Maciej Goniewicz, PhD, PharmD, Roswell Park Comprehensive Cancer Center, Buffalo, NY.

Ted Kwong, Juul, San Francisco.

Adam Leventhal, PhD, University of Southern California, Los Angeles.

Lisa Morawski, Oregon Gov. Kate Brown’s office, Salem, OR.

George Parman, Altria, Richmond, VA.

Kaitlyn M. Berry, JAMA Network Open, Feb.1, 2019.

N. Chadi, Journal of Addiction Medicine, Jan. 24, 2019.

M. Goniewicz, BMJ Journals, Sept. 7, 2018.

Institute of Medicine: “Public Health Implications of Raising the Minimum Age of Legal Access to Tobacco Products.”

2018 National Youth Tobacco Survey.

O. Owotomo, Journal of Applied Research on Children: Informing Policy for children at Risk, Volume 8, Article 5, 2017.

Richmond Times Dispatch: “Northam signs bill to raise tobacco minimum age to 21.”

CounterTobacco.org.

Governor.Hawaii.Gov, “News Release: Governor Ige Signs Historic Smoking Measure.”

Juul.com: “JUULpod Basics.”

Tobacco21.org: “Home page and Generic Fact Sheet.”

Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids: “States and localities that have raised the minimum legal sale age for tobacco products to 21,” “Raising the tobacco age to 21,” “The path to tobacco addiction starts at very young ages.”

Mass.gov: “Photo Release: Governor Baker Signs Bill Raising Age to Purchase Tobacco Products.”

National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine: “Public Health Consequences of E-Cigarettes.”

CDC: “Youth and Tobacco Use,” “Cigarette smoking among U.S. high school students at an all-time low, but e-cigarette use a concern,” “Electronic cigarettes: what’s the bottom line?”

FDA.gov: “Statement from FDA Commissioner Scott Gottlieb, M.D., on new data demonstrating rising youth use of tobacco products and the agency’s ongoing actions to confront the epidemic of youth e-cigarette use.”

SurgeonGeneral.gov: “E-cigarette use among youth and young adults.”

Hawaii Department of Health.

WebMD Health

Opioid OD Deaths Quadruple, Centered in 8 States

By Robert Preidt

HealthDay Reporter

FRIDAY, Feb. 22, 2019 (HealthDay News) — U.S. opioid overdose deaths have quadrupled in the last two decades, and the highest rates are now seen in eight Eastern states, a new study shows.

Those states are: Connecticut, Illinois, Indiana, Massachusetts, Maryland, Maine, New Hampshire and Ohio.

The researchers also found that the death rate from opioids has increased the fastest in the District of Columbia, more than tripling every year since 2013, and that opioid death rates in Florida and Pennsylvania were doubling every two years.

“Although opioid-related mortality has been stereotyped as a rural, low-income phenomenon concentrated among Appalachian or Midwestern states, it has spread rapidly, particularly among the Eastern states,” the researchers wrote.

The analysis of data from the U.S. Census and the National Center for Health Statistics suggests that the opioid overdose epidemic has evolved as three waves.

The first wave, from the 1990s until about 2010, was associated with prescription opioid painkillers (such as OxyContin). The second wave, from 2010 until recently, was associated with a large increase in heroin-related deaths. The third and current wave, which began around 2013, involves a rapid increase in deaths associated with synthetic opioids, such as tramadol (Ultram) and fentanyl.

It’s likely that synthetic opioids have also contaminated the production process of illegal drugs, such as cocaine and methamphetamines, and is no longer limited to heroin, said study author Mathew Kiang, a postdoctoral scholar at Stanford University.

“People aren’t aware their drugs are laced and more potent than they expected, putting them at higher risk of overdose,” Kiang explained in a university news release.

The researchers also found that opioid overdose deaths are occurring in a wider range of people, and there have been significant increases in opioid overdose deaths among black Americans.

The 26 percent increase in opioid overdose deaths among blacks between 2016 and 2017 is the largest increase among any racial group, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The new study was published online Feb. 22 in JAMA Network Open.

Continued

“The identification and characterization of opioid ‘hot spots’ — in terms of both high mortality rates and increasing trends in mortality — may allow for better-targeted policies that address the current state of the epidemic and the needs of the population,” Kiang and his colleagues reported.

The study authors noted that states are trying to tackle the opioid crisis through policies such as restricting the supply of prescription opioid painkillers and expanding treatment and access to the opioid overdose-reversing drug naloxone (Narcan).

“Treating opioid use disorder should be our top priority to curb the problem,” Kiang said. “Similarly, we have the ability to counteract the effects of an overdose. These lifesaving drugs should be easily accessible and widely available.”

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCE: Stanford University, news release, Feb. 22, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

Ask a Stoner: What States Need My Pot Industry Experience?

Dear Stoner: I don’t see advancement at my current growing job, and I kind of want to leave Colorado. What are some states where my personal and (limited) professional experience are in demand?
L.T.

Dear L.T.: Sorry to see you go, bud. We’ve heard similar stories about troubles advancing out of entry-level jobs in the cannabis space. You’re in a very competitive industry, yet Colorado is a state of dwindling opportunity as more licenses are spoken for and limited management positions open up. But that experience you mention is desirable in other states and regions, especially the farther east and south you go.


Toke of the Town