Tag Archives: South Carolina

NCAA doesn’t monitor painkiller use

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Gene Sapakoff of the Charleston, S.C. Post and Courier reports that while the NCAA and the Atlantic Coast Conference went to the mat this summer over bagel quality in relation to an “ACC rules proposal seeking to specify ‘that an institution may provide fruit, nuts and bagels to student-athletes at any time,'” collegiate sports’ governing body doesn’t have any system in place to track or regulate the injections and painkillers given on a regular basis to many student-athletes.

ncaainjury

Photo by Monica’s Dad via Flickr

…the NCAA wouldn’t know if a South Carolina or Clemson player received one Toradol shot or 30 last week, or if a given school under its wide jurisdiction was refilling infamously addictive OxyContin and Vicodin prescriptions by the shovelful.

“The NCAA does not monitor that from a national standpoint,” said Mary Wilfert, the NCAA’s Associate Director of Health and Safety. “That is left to the institutions and also left to those professional and legal and ethical regulatory bodies that folks in those fields operate under.”

The NCAA sources Sapakoff consulted said that monitoring painkillers and other drugs given to student-athletes, while a good idea, would be a “gargantuan task” beyond the association’s resources.

“Just way too much to try and get a handle on. Simple as that, unfortunately,” said an NCAA official, requesting anonymity. “We just don’t have the staff as it is.”

Sapakoff’s series on painkillers in football also looked at high schools and the NFL.

S.C.: Pandemic plan handled H1N1, needs tweaking

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Joey Holleman at The State reviewed South Carolina’s reaction to H1N1 and what it revealed about the state’s pandemic preparedness. Holleman found that, on the whole, state officials and health professionals felt their pandemic preparations, put in place after scares such as SARS and H5N1, had worked well and proposed only minor adjustments to the overall plan.

AHCJ resourcesAHCJ resources for covering flu, pandemics and preparedness

Holleman said those specifics include detailing school closing plans, assigning responsibility for home-quarantined patients and adjusting hospital entry traffic to keep flu sufferers isolated. Apart from those details, the state’s plans appear to be working.

So far, the state has had 36 CDC-confirmed cases of H1N1 and no reported deaths. The cornerstones of S.C.’s response have been rapid stockpiling of necessary medications and materials and rapid education of both hospital staffs and the public. For the most part, officials said, the effort was not much different than previous efforts to contain other infectious diseases like chicken pox or whooping cough.

State agency fines polluters but economy takes toll

Andrew Van Dam

About Andrew Van Dam

Andrew Van Dam of The Wall Street Journal previously worked at the AHCJ offices while earning his master’s degree at the Missouri School of Journalism.

Tony Bartelme of the Charleston Post and Courier obtained and analyzed records of 17 years of fines handed out to polluters by the South Carolina Department of Health and Environmental Control. The DEHC dished out 6,100 fines in that time period, ranging from a few hundred to a few million dollars in size.

Bartelme obtained the information through a South Carolina Freedom of Information Act request and the information is available through a database on the paper’s Web site.

Bartelme found fines for dumping toxic chemicals into sewers, shipping contaminated waste, leaking gas station pumps and more. The government says that one company’s failure to control pollutants resulted in thousands of tons of toxic air emissions being released into communities around their mills.

“Meanwhile, as the economic crisis has grown worse, so has DHEC’s struggle to maintain its mission. The agency slashed its budget by more than $32 million during the past year. Agency staffers are taking unpaid furloughs. Work is piling up. Officials said recently they might cut in half the number of surprise restaurant inspections the agency does in a year. Fewer inspectors will be at hospitals, daycare centers and nursing homes, and people wanting septic tank permits and other DHEC services might have to wait longer.”