Tag Archives: opioids

How W.Va is crunching data on social conditions and opioids

Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at determinants@healthjournalism.org.

A social autopsy.

That’s what West Virginia Health Commissioner Dr. Rahul Gupta called his efforts to examine opioid deaths in his state, one of the hardest hit by the drug epidemic.

In an interview with WBUR, Gupta said he was crunching the data on hundreds of those who die in hopes of seeing past the medical causes and into the social issues that may have contributed. Understanding that, and the stigma, may better help him and other officials tackle the scourge that is sweeping the state. Continue reading

Dental leaders, researchers take new look at opioid crisis

Mary Otto

About Mary Otto

Mary Otto, a Washington, D.C.-based freelancer, is AHCJ's topic leader on oral health and the author of "Teeth: The Story of Beauty, Inequality, and the Struggle for Oral Health in America." She can be reached at mary@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: ME via Flickr

Calling upon the nation’s oral health providers to do their part in addressing a national opioid crisis that claims an estimated 115 lives a day, the American Dental Association (ADA) has endorsed statutory dosage and seven-day duration limits on opioid prescriptions for the treatment of acute pain.

In a recent announcement, the professional group, which represents more than 161,000 dentist members*, also supported mandatory continuing education to inform dentists about evidence-based opioid prescribing practices. Continue reading

Skepticism is required when covering the science behind genetic tests

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Pia Christensen/AHCJCharles Piller, Paul Raeburn and Christopher Robertson (left to right) discussed the science of genetic testing on the first day of Health Journalism 2018.

Health insurers struggle to understand whether genetic tests give physicians actionable information about how to diagnose and treat patients’ illness. If health insurers struggle, then journalists certainly will as well. For example, see this tip sheet that Beth Daley (@BethBDaley) wrote for AHCJ when she was at the New England Center for Investigative Reporting.

Genetic testing holds immense promise, but as speakers explained during the “Science of Genetic Testing” session at Health Journalism 2018, misuse and misinterpretation of these tests have undercut that promise. Continue reading

Opioids the topic of daylong training for D.C. journalists

Kimberly Leonard

About Kimberly Leonard

Kimberly Leonard (@leonardkl) is a member of AHCJ’s Right to Know Committee and co-chair of the Washington, D.C., chapter. She covers Congress, the White House, and the Department of Health and Human Services as a health care reporter for the Washington Examiner.

Photo: Ryan Basen Baltimore Health Commissioner Leana Wen, right, helps demonstrate how naloxone is administered.

Health journalists in Washington, D.C., participated in an all-day training session about reporting on the opioid crisis, hearing from treatment experts, medical providers and public health advocates.

The event took place Feb. 23 at the University of Maryland’s Philip Merrill College of Journalism, and was a partnership between the D.C. chapter of the Association of Health Care Journalists and the National Press Foundation. Continue reading

Integrative medicine panel at #AHCJ18 to look at alternative approaches to pain management

Liz Seegert

About Liz Seegert

Liz Seegert (@lseegert), is AHCJ’s topic editor on aging. Her work has appeared in NextAvenue.com, Journal of Active Aging, Cancer Today, Kaiser Health News, the Connecticut Health I-Team and other outlets. She is a senior fellow at the Center for Health Policy and Media Engagement at George Washington University and co-produces the HealthCetera podcast.

Chronic pain is fairly common among older adults. Nearly half of community dwelling and up to 75 percent of institutionalized adults over 65 report some type of persistent pain. Coping with pain frequently involves a combination of prescription and over-the-counter medications, from NSAIDs to opioids. However, that approach can create a host of issues, including drug-drug interactions, balance and sleep problems, or addiction.  Is there another way?

As this story in the St. Louis Post-Dispatch aptly stated, pain management in older adults has to extend beyond painkillers. That’s where integrative medicine comes in. Continue reading