Roundup: Senate Bill Targets Painkiller Abuse, Heroin Addiction; Half of California Adults are Prediabetic

The U.S. Senate passed a bipartisan bill this week that helps communities tackle the illegal uses of opioid painkillers and heroin addiction, two issues that have created a drug-abuse epidemic.

The bill, which is moving to likely approval, would establish federal grants to help state and local governments treat addicts, train emergency workers to use drugs designed to help overcome overdoses and authorizes funds for various treatment and prevention programs for a broad spectrum of addicts.

The law would also strengthen prescription drug monitoring programs and expand the availability of naloxone, a medication that helps reverse overdoses, to law enforcement agencies.

According to recent surveys of drug abusers by the National Institute on Drug Abuse, nearly half of young people who inject heroin reported first abusing prescription opioids. However, heroin has become more readily available to adult users of all ages. The drug has also become more potent and cheaper than ever due to more supply than demand, according to David Vittoria, assistant vice president of the South Miami Hospital Addiction Treatment & Recovery Center.

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), unintentional overdoses on opioid prescription medications, such as Oxycontin and Percocet, quadrupled between 1999 and 2014.

The legislation authorizes $725 million for federal grants, but funds won’t be allocated until separate legislation is approved to fund federal agencies for the 2017 fiscal year.

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Nearly Half of Adults in California are Prediabetic

Researchers from University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) have determined that 55 percent of California adults have either diabetes or pre-diabetes, a condition in which blood glucose levels are higher than normal but not high enough to be considered diabetic.

The university’s study pegged the rate of pre-diabetes in California at 46 percent of all adults, that’s higher than the estimated national average of one-third of adults. The UCLA study also found that 33 percent of young adults aged 18-39 were pre-diabetic.

Rates of diabetes have increased more than 175 percent across the U.S. since 1980, according to federal data. Diabetes is now the seventh-leading cause of death in California. For decades, more Californians have been putting on weight and developing diabetes, prompting warnings from health officials and physicians’ groups.

The UCLA study, sponsored by the California Center for Public Health Advocacy, reviewed data about more than 6,400 people from a long-running federal health study known as the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey. It also evaluated information about another 40,000 Californians from the state’s ongoing California Health Interview Survey.

“This is the clearest indication to date that the diabetes epidemic is out of control and getting worse,” says Dr. Harold Goldstein, executive director of the health advocacy center. “With limited availability of healthy food in low-income communities, a preponderance of soda and junk food marketing, and urban neighborhoods lacking safe places to play, we have created a world where diabetes is the natural consequence.”

See related articles:
Watch Now: Tips for Prediabetes Prevention
1 in 3: Could You Be Prediabetic?
Have You Taken the ‘Diabetes Risk Test’?


‘Miami Brain Fair’ Gets Kids Interested in Neuroscience

The Miami Brain Fair, a free educational event to teach children learn how the brain works, is being held Saturday, March 12, 10 a.m.-4 p.m., at the Fieldhouse of Bank United Center at University of Miami , 1245 Dauer Drive, Coral Gables.  The Fair’s family-friendly, fun-filled exhibits and activities are aimed to get kids interested and excited about neuroscience.

Interactive activities designed for children 5-12 years old include the ability to touch and dissect a “real” brain, build a neuron from clay, play with visual illusions and activate the senses. High school students can compete in “Brain Bee and Brain Jeopardy!” — a competition to determine who knows the most brain facts. Other fun activities will include face painting and puppet shows about how the brain works.

The Patricia and Phillip Frost Museum of Science is partnering with Baptist Health Neuroscience Center to showcase the latest technology related to concussions and stroke awareness, and provide a sneak peek of the Baptist Health South Florida People and Science Gallery set to open at the museum later this year.

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With internationally renowned centers of excellence, 12 hospitals, more than 27,000 employees, 4,000 physicians and 200 outpatient centers, urgent care facilities and physician practices spanning across Miami-Dade, Monroe, Broward and Palm Beach counties, Baptist Health is an anchor institution of the South Florida communities we serve.

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