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Heroin is a very addictive chemical called diacetylmorphine. Heroin is a modified form of morphine, a highly abundant opium derived from the seedpods of the poppy plant.
First Edition: August 25, 2014

First Edition: August 25, 2014

Today's early morning highlights from the major news organizations include reports on Medicare ratings of nursing homes, the growing demand for home-health aides and accounts of the Obama administration's new contraception coverage rules. [More]
Study of chronic users of CCS finds deficits in specific regions of brain white matter

Study of chronic users of CCS finds deficits in specific regions of brain white matter

An imaging study of chronic users of codeine-containing cough syrups (CCS) has found deficits in specific regions of brain white matter and associates these changes with increased impulsivity in CCS users. [More]
Acetyl fentanyl is more potent and dangerous than heroin

Acetyl fentanyl is more potent and dangerous than heroin

Emergency physicians should expect "an upswing in what on the surface appear to be heroin overdoses," but are actually overdoses tied to acetyl fentanyl, an opiate that is mixed into street drugs marketed as heroin. [More]
State highlights: Calif. hospital bid draws scrutiny; hospital house calls

State highlights: Calif. hospital bid draws scrutiny; hospital house calls

Prime Healthcare Services Inc., a hospital chain that has come under fire for billing and patient privacy issues, is facing opposition over its potential acquisition of six California hospitals, including two medical centers in Los Angeles County. On Friday, hospital workers, union representatives and elected officials protested against Prime outside St. Vincent Medical Center near downtown Los Angeles, one of the six hospitals put up for sale this year by the Daughters of Charity Health System (Garland, 8/15). [More]
State highlights: Aging inmate care outside prison; Colo.'s teen birth rate drop; Minn. rural doc shortage

State highlights: Aging inmate care outside prison; Colo.'s teen birth rate drop; Minn. rural doc shortage

Providing health care to an aging prison population is a large and growing cost for states. Not only do inmates develop debilitating conditions at a younger age than people who are not incarcerated, but caring for them in the harsh environment of prisons is far more expensive than it is on the outside. [More]
First Edition: August 12, 2014

First Edition: August 12, 2014

Today's headlines include stories about how the federal government's experience with healthcare.gov has led to the creation of the U.S. Digital Service. [More]
New lifesaving product aims at reducing death toll from heroin abuse

New lifesaving product aims at reducing death toll from heroin abuse

A new, lifesaving product aimed at reducing the death toll from heroin abuse — developed by a professor at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy — is in its final round of clinical trials and has received Fast Track designation by the Food and Drug Administration. [More]

New tool promises to reduce deaths caused by heroin overdose

A new, lifesaving product aimed at reducing the death toll from heroin abuse - developed by a professor at the University of Kentucky College of Pharmacy - is in its final round of clinical trials and has received Fast Track designation by the Food and Drug Administration. [More]
New study casts doubt on the effectiveness of brief counseling for illicit drug use

New study casts doubt on the effectiveness of brief counseling for illicit drug use

In an effort to stem substance use, the U.S. has invested heavily in the past decade in a brief screening-and-intervention protocol for alcohol and other drugs. [More]
Roundtable discussion on heroin and prescription drug abuse

Roundtable discussion on heroin and prescription drug abuse

Jersey Shore University Medical Center hosted a roundtable discussion on August 4, led by Assemblywoman Mary Pat Angelini, to discuss the continued growth in heroin and prescription drug abuse in the shore community. [More]
State highlights: Time of turmoil for Georgia hospitals; Oregon Medicaid takes aim at expensive heptatitis C drug

State highlights: Time of turmoil for Georgia hospitals; Oregon Medicaid takes aim at expensive heptatitis C drug

A selection of health policy stories from Gerogia, Wisconsin, Texas, Oregon, Florida, Michigan, Massachusetts, Connecticut and North Carolina. [More]

National Drug Early Warning System to monitor emerging drug trends

An innovative National Drug Early Warning System (NDEWS) is being developed to monitor emerging trends that will help health experts respond quickly to potential outbreaks of illicit drugs such as heroin and to identify increased use of designer synthetic compounds. [More]
New study finds highest rates of decline in prescription drug misuse nationwide

New study finds highest rates of decline in prescription drug misuse nationwide

Five states that have implemented multi-faceted prescription drug abuse prevention programs in recent years showed the highest rate of decline in prescription drug misuse rates nationwide, according to a new study issued today by Quest Diagnostics, the world's leading provider of diagnostic information services. [More]
Viewpoints: Lower health spending is welcome news; media bias against health law success

Viewpoints: Lower health spending is welcome news; media bias against health law success

The last few years have seen a puzzling and welcome new trend in health care spending: Instead of going up and up, increases have slowed way down. [More]
Pennsylvania releases statewide guidelines on use of prescription opioids for chronic non-cancer pain

Pennsylvania releases statewide guidelines on use of prescription opioids for chronic non-cancer pain

On behalf of Governor Tom Corbett, the Pennsylvania Departments of Drug and Alcohol Programs and Health, in partnership with the Pennsylvania Medical Society, today released statewide guidelines to address the use of prescription opioids to treat chronic non-cancer pain. [More]
Rockefeller scientists identify protein that makes breast cancer cells more likely to metastasize

Rockefeller scientists identify protein that makes breast cancer cells more likely to metastasize

Using an innovative tool that captures heretofore hidden ways that cells are regulated, scientists at Rockefeller University have identified a protein that makes breast cancer cells more likely to metastasize. [More]
State highlights: N.Y. legalizes medical marijuana; La. Medicaid paid for ineligible inmate care; Md. checking Medicaid rolls for unqualified

State highlights: N.Y. legalizes medical marijuana; La. Medicaid paid for ineligible inmate care; Md. checking Medicaid rolls for unqualified

New York on Monday became the 23rd state to legalize certain forms of marijuana for medical reasons as Gov. Andrew Cuomo signed legislation into law at an event in Manhattan. The measure, which passed both houses of the legislature during the final moments of the legislative session, in June, is significantly more restrictive than other medical-marijuana laws in the nation (Orden, 7/7). [More]
State highlights: Caring for Texans injured on-the-job; heroin deaths in Md.; pertussis in Calif.

State highlights: Caring for Texans injured on-the-job; heroin deaths in Md.; pertussis in Calif.

In formerly depressed South Texas, gas flares from the fracking boom can be seen from outer space. While Texas has a Division of Workers' Compensation, it is the only state that doesn't require any private employer to carry workers' compensation insurance or a private equivalent, so more than 500,000 people have no occupational benefits when they get injured at work. That means they often rely on charities or taxpayers to pay for their care (Root, 6/29) [More]
State highlights: Ohio managed care plans launch; Bluecross Blueshield plan faces Ore. lawsuit; N.Y. policy on unvaccinated children upheld

State highlights: Ohio managed care plans launch; Bluecross Blueshield plan faces Ore. lawsuit; N.Y. policy on unvaccinated children upheld

A selection of health policy stories from Ohio, Oregon, New York, Colorado, Iowa, New Jersey, North Carolina, Georgia, California and Minnesota. [More]
State highlights: N.Y. lawmakers deal on heroin abuse; N.Y. birth control discrimination bill; nursing home costs in Mich.

State highlights: N.Y. lawmakers deal on heroin abuse; N.Y. birth control discrimination bill; nursing home costs in Mich.

A selection of health policy stories from New York, Michigan, New Jersey, Virginia, Maryland, North Carolina, California, Texas, Washington state, Missouri, Massachusetts and Colorado. [More]