In the last three years, 33 U.S. states have passed laws aimed at helping dying people get easier access to experimental treatments that are still in the early stages of human testing. Supporters say these patients are just looking for the right to try these treatments.
Such laws sound compassionate, but medical ethicists warn they pose worrisome risks to the health and finances of vulnerable patients.
Republican Sen. Chuck Grassley, chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, has opened an inquiry into potential abuses of the Orphan Drug Act that may have contributed to high prices on commonly used drugs.
In a statement, Grassley said the inquiry is "based on reporting from Kaiser Health News" and strong consumer concern about high drug prices.
"My staff is meeting with interested groups and other Senate staff to get their views on the extent of the problem and how we might fix it," Grassley wrote.
In Donald Trump’s first week as president he’s signed executive orders on the Affordable Care Act, the Keystone XL and Dakota Access pipeline, Trans-Pacific Partnership, the wall along the U.S.-Mexico border, immigration, and putting a hiring freeze on federal workers.
He said he thinks torture works, 3-5 million people voted illegally in the U.S. election and argued about the size of his inauguration crowd. We’ll come to grips with all that happened this week.
Bill Radke talks to state Senator Mark Miloscia and Kris Nyrop of the Public Defender Association. Senator Miloscia has introduced legislation that would effectively ban safe consumption sites in King County. He argues that a focus on abstinence is the way to curb drug use. Nyrop is a harm reduction specialist who says that focusing on safer, more realistic solutions is how to deal with the epidemic.
Seattle and King County could open the nation's first supervised drug use site. The idea doesn't have formal approval, but King County's Board of Health and a separate heroin task force have both endorsed the sites.
"People keep asking me, how close are we to going off the cliff," says Dr. James Johnson, professor of infectious diseases medicine at the University of Minnesota. The cliffside free fall he is talking about is the day that drug-resistant bacteria will be able to outfox the world's entire arsenal of antibiotics. Common infections would then become untreatable.
Policing and homeless services are high profile items in Seattle's proposed budget. A program that helps drug users touches on both. Now, the fate of the Law Enforcement Assisted Diversion program is stirring up debate.
Through LEAD, police connect low level drug and prostitution suspects to community services, instead of arresting them.
America has a long and storied history with marijuana. Once grown by American colonists to make hemp rope, by 1970, it was classified as a Schedule 1 narcotic. Possession of it was — and is — a federal crime, despite the fact that in recent years 25 states have legalized medical marijuana and four states and the District of Columbia have legalized cannabis for recreational use.
Two often-overlooked medications might help millions of Americans who abuse alcohol to quit drinking or cut back.
Public health officials, building on a push to treat people who abuse opioids with medications, want physicians to consider using medications to treat alcohol addiction. The drugs can be used in addition to or sometimes in place of peer-support programs, they say.