opioid epidemic

Dear Research Advocate: This week marks the one year anniversary of the signing of the 21st Century Cures Act. Ominously, momentum to accomplish the goals of this ground-breaking, bipartisan legislation and so much more could be forced off track by events of the last few hours: release by House leadership of a “hybrid” continuing resolution/Department of Defense bill that would fully fund FY18 Defense spending ($640B) while flat- funding everything else until (at least) January 19. The January 19th deadline wasn’t pulled out of thin air; that is the deadline for congressional action to prevent an across-the-board spending cut to meet the FY18 budget caps. The ‘hybrid’ proposal would...
Our nation’s health has improved in some areas but serious health challenges remain related to the escalating drug crisis and disparities in access to care. United Health Foundation’s 2017 America’s Health Rankings report indicates smoking prevalence, the rate of preventable hospitalizations and the percentage of uninsured Americans have declined, but the drug death rate has trended upward. In the past year, drug deaths reached the highest level recorded by America’s Health Rankings , increasing by 7%, particularly among whites. Even states that consistently rank among the healthiest in the nation saw increased mortality rates due to the drug epidemic. Over the past five years, drug death...
Dear Research Advocate: Americans spent $8.4 billion on Halloween in 2016 -- and no doubt will spend even more this year-- enough to fund the Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ) for 17+ years! What we spend to improve the quality of health care delivery represents only about 0.012% of the $3.3 trillion we spend on health care. Stats like these help place research -- in this case health services research (HSR) -- spending into perspective. (For more advocacy-relevant info, see our fact sheet .) The vision for AHRQ that Director Gopal Khanna shares in this terrific blog post underscores why a far greater investment in HSR makes strategic sense for our nation. More on what money...
Dear Research Advocate: I have given several talks recently on the role each of us has in winning hearts and minds for research, stressing the importance of telling stories and connecting emotionally rather than clobbering people with facts. That said, sometimes facts tell stories, and sometimes neither stories nor facts compel desperately needed change. Such is the case with gun violence. It’s time to dig deeper. On an average Sunday in this country, about 100 people are killed by firearms, two-thirds of them by suicide. Three days ago, 58 people who had gathered to watch music were senselessly gunned down by a single shooter. Our nation mourns this and every gun violence tragedy, but we...
Sen. Ed Markey (D-Mass.) remembers the exact moment when he grasped the gravity of the opioid epidemic. As he prepared to give a speech in Taunton, Massachusetts in 2014, he asked the mayor and police chief what was the biggest issue facing their town. “We’ve lost seven people to overdoses in just the last couple of weeks,” they replied. Two years later, he said, Massachusetts lost 2,000 people to opioid-related deaths. Sen. Markey joined other speakers to discuss this epidemic at the Washington Post’s program Addiction in America co-hosted by Battelle on June 21, 2017. “Unless we put in place the necessary prevention and treatment programs, the epidemic will explode,” he stressed. More...
Dear Research Advocate: News this week from researchers in Brazil on hearing loss in infants born to mothers who have been infected with the Zika virus underscores the reality that we are far from seeing light at the end of this public health crisis tunnel. CDC Director Tom Frieden and NIAID Director Tony Fauci wrote on the perils of “robbing Peter to pay Paul” in funding the nation’s response to Zika in yesterday’s Washington Post . We are fortunate to be welcoming both of these leaders to our National Health Research Forum next week, so will have an in-the-moment update. Some 76% of Americans now say Congress should make passing the emergency Zika response an important priority when they...
Dear Research Advocate: Today, the House Labor-HHS appropriations subcommittee marked up its FY17 funding bill, which includes funding for NIH, CDC and AHRQ. NIH received a $1.25 billion increase, $750 million less than the Senate increase. Given the subcommittee’s overall budget allocation ($569 million below fiscal year 2016) and the more conservative funding climate in the House, this is still an extraordinarily positive outcome. At the markup, Chairman Tom Cole (R-OK-04) noted that the $1.25 billion increase set a floor - rather than a ceiling - for NIH funding in FY17, a positive sign for potential negotiations with the Senate later in the process. The House Labor-HHS bill proposes a...

Sidebar Quote

You can change the image of things to come. But you can’t do it sitting on your hands … The science community should reach out to Congress and build bridges.
The Honorable John E. Porter