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Anti-opioid campaign videos aim to scare teens away from using

Arizona Department of Health Services has launched a graphic video campaign aimed at scaring kids away from highly addictive opioids in an effort to curb the nation’s opioid epidemic. The 30-second ad features a teenager visibly distraught. The scene then changes to a closeup of a white pill. A person’s face and hands slowly push out from the inside of the pill. “Getting in is easier than getting out,” the screen then reads. The $400,6000 anti-opioid educational campaign was funded by the Arizona Opioid Epidemic Act. It specifically targets Arizona teens ages 12 to 17 in an effort to dissuade ... Read More

Nursing facility CEO resigns after patient in vegetative state gives birth

The chief executive officer of the Phoenix, Arizona nursing home where a patient in a long-time persistent vegetative state gave birth, launching an investigation into sexual abuse at the facility, has resigned amid emerging reports of previous abuse cases. Bill Timmons resigned from Hacienda HealthCare just days after news broke that on Dec. 29, a 29-year-old Native American woman gave birth to a healthy baby boy. Staff allegedly had no idea that the patient, who had been in a vegetative state for 14 years after suffering a near-drowning, was pregnant. Staff reportedly discovered the woman was in labor when she ... Read More

Massachusetts Boosts Tobacco Sales Age to 21

With the New Year comes a new Massachusetts state law boosting the minimum age for the purchase of all tobacco products, including e-cigarettes, to 21. The new law comes on the heels of data showing that teens are turning to e-cigarettes and other vaping devices in alarming numbers, rolling back decades of progress in reducing smoking rates among U.S. youth. Considering that nicotine is harmful to the developing brains of people 25 and younger, it may be surprising to know that the new law makes Massachusetts just the sixth state to restrict the sale of tobacco products to individuals 21 ... Read More

Jurors’ multi-billion verdict against J&J was punishment for violating public trust

“If trusted corporations deceive the American people, they need to be punished – not because their products cause cancer – but because they must be held accountable if people believe they have violated the public trust,” said Milton Packer, M.D., in an editorial in MedPage Today. Dr. Packer posed the question, “Why did a jury deliver a $4.69 billion verdict against Johnson & Johnson,” and side with 22 women who sued the company alleging its Johnson’s Baby Powder contained cancer-causing asbestos that contributed to their ovarian cancer diagnosis? Dr. Packer’s theory? “The verdict had little to do with whether talc ... Read More

Government shutdown complicates aviation accident investigation

An investigation into a plane crash on the American River near Discovery Park in Sacramento, California, that injured two people, is hitting roadblocks because of the government shutdown. When a plane crash occurs in a river, it would typically be handled by the Coast Guard. But Sacramento County’s Regional Parks Department is handling the investigation and evidence-gathering because, due to the shutdown, both the Coast Guard and the National Transportation Safety Board (NTSB), which investigates the cause of accidents, are unavailable. “We do not frequently have plane crashes into the river, so it is outside the norm most definitely, Sacramento ... Read More

Sex abuse investigation launched after nursing home patient gives birth

A young patient in a Phoenix, Arizona nursing home who has been in a persistent vegetative state for at least a decade gave birth to a baby on Dec. 29, launching an investigation by the Phoenix Police Department into possible sexual abuse. The woman had been a patient at Hacienda Healthcare since a near-drowning incident left her in a vegetative state several years ago. She needed around-the-clock care and was unable to communicate. Many people had access to her room throughout the day and night. Investigators from several agencies are keeping mum about the details, but according to staff accounts ... Read More

Pediatric Opioid Deaths Tripled Over Last Two Decades

When it comes to the lives of children, prescription opioids have a lot in common with loaded guns. Both opioids and guns in the home pose a serious risk of injury and death to children and teens, and both are responsible for hundreds of accidental deaths every year. But unlike weapons, prescription opioid drugs in the home are a relatively new threat, and a new Yale analysis of U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) data shows how big the problem has grown. The study’s authors, from the Yale School of Medicine’s Department of Pediatrics, found that opioid overdose ... Read More

FMCSA Urged to Curb Regulatory Exemptions for Commercial Carriers

An organization of commercial vehicle inspectors is urging the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration (FMCSA) to reign in the number of exemptions allowed to motor carriers, saying they are creating “confusion and inconsistency in enforcement.” Collin Mooney, Executive Director of the Commercial Vehicle Safety Alliance (CVSA), sent a letter to the FMCSA Administrator Ray Martinez expressing his concern with the excessive exemptions and their impact on the ability of inspectors to accurately and efficiently perform their jobs. The CVSA, which represents more than 4,000 commercial vehicle inspectors in North America, also suggested the exemptions could erode highway safety. “Since 2015, ... Read More

Chemical linked to cancer found in most Americans’ bodies

Ninety-three percent of Americans have a probable cancer-causing chemical in their bodies, according to a first-of-its-kind comprehensive project conducted by the University of California. For the study, researchers collected urine samples on 131 individuals across the country, in both rural and urban environments, and found that the vast majority of their urine samples showed evidence of glyphosate, the active ingredient in Monsanto’s weed killer Roundup. The chemical has been widely used in the United States and around the world for more than four decades. Its popularity skyrocketed after Monsanto genetically modified seeds to be resistant to glyphosate, allowing crops to flourish ... Read More

Detroit contractor faces stiff consequences for ignoring asbestos removal laws

A Detroit, Michigan-based contractor was permanently banned from city contracts after knowingly demolishing a home that contained asbestos without properly removing it, posing a health risk to workers and those in close proximity, according to the Detroit Free Press Den-Man Contractors had been the subject of a probe by Detroit’s Office of Inspector General, an independent agency that investigates claims of waste and fraud. According to Detroit Building Authority documents, Dave MacDonald, a former employee with Den-Man, directed the demolition of a home in a blighted neighborhood in Detroit despite having received emails from an abatement contractor who urged him ... Read More