The following articles are what we've been reading lately...

Prevention: The missing piece in the state response to the heroin epidemic

April 27, 2016. Milwaukee Journal Sentinel

In modern medicine, it is only common sense that an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. It is well understood by patients and doctors alike that it is much more effective and cheaper to prevent a disease, or catch it in its early stages, than to treat it once it has become a serious health risk.

Although there is now an overwhelming expert consensus that drug and alcohol addiction are medical conditions, just like breast cancer or diabetes, our approach to prevention has not caught up to the medical science. Read more

A controversial response to heroin epidemic: supervised injections. 

April 20, 2016. USA News.

In response to the nationwide heroin epidemic, some lawmakers are pressing to open controversial supervised facilities where addicts can shoot up more safely. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says heroin-related overdose deaths increased 286 percent nationwide between 2002 and 2013. In New York, California and Washington state, lawmakers and advocates are not satisfied that increased funding for drug treatment centers is enough to solve the problem. Continue Reading. 

Narcan, Then What? The deadly missing piece of the White House strategy to combat substance abuse. 

April 19, 2016. Huffington Post

President Obama’s remarks at the National Rx Drug Abuse and Heroin Summit on March 29 yet again ignored a critical element of America’s drug epidemic. His administration’s policy aims to inhibit the flow of drugs into the country, expand access to Narcan, increase training for health care providers, and direct greater funding to treatment programs. While this is commendable, the overall policy fails to address the pressing issue of what should occur after an overdose victim is revived. Continue Reading.

Straddling two worlds: Autism, Mental Health

April 18, 2016, Appleton Post Crescent

Kierstin Huelsemann, of Madison, is a parent of a 9-year-old diagnosed last year with high functioning Asperger's syndrome and significant sensory processing disorder. Her health insurer considers autism to be a mental health diagnosis, while some mental health providers do not, making it difficult to find care. Continue Reading

Should we stop using the word 'Addict'

April 5. 2016. Huffington Post. 

For the past year, I’ve been publicly arguing that we need to think very differently about addiction. For a century, we’ve been punishing addicts, and waging war on them — and we’ve ended up with a catastrophic addiction crisis. I’ve been to the countries that have instead adopted the opposite approach — compassion and love for addicts — and their addiction crises are shrinking over time. Continue reading. 

Kids in Crisis: Call to action for Wisconsin

March 17, 2016, Appleton Post-Crescent

From small towns to big cities, it claims the lives of children and leaves countless others wounded. It cuts a path of destruction across all walks of life, yet is often spoken about in hushed terms — if it all. Continue Reading

The price is wrong: The physical costs of behavioral health. 

February 24, 2016. Huffington Post.

We are screening for, discovering, and treating disease more frequently; people are living longer; and a greater proportion of the population is entering Medicare age – all leading to increasingly complex patients. It’s no surprise that health care costs have finally surpassed $3T. With increasing patient complexity and rising costs, the demands placed on physicians have increased in parallel. Continue Reading. 

Pediatricians Say Absolutely No Drinking While Pregnant

October 19, 2015, National Public Radio

Sure, you know you're not supposed to drink while pregnant. But what about those glasses of wine you had before you found out? Is a little OK in the third trimester? Or when you're anxious and can't sleep? hose are the kinds of questions that women keep asking about pregnancy and alcohol. And science has not been a huge help in providing answers, though that’s getting better. Continue Reading on

Advocates, lawmakers see momentum for mental-health reform in Congress

October 18, 2015. Washington Post

Months of deadly mass shootings are pushing mental-health legislation forward in Congress, with advocates and lawmakers describing a momentum for change that they haven’t seen for nearly a decade.

Early this month, by sheer coincidence, leaders of five advocacy groups met with the head of a powerful House committee just hours after a student opened fire at an Oregon community college. As pictures of the campus flashed on the TV screen in his office, Energy and Commerce Committee Chairman Fred Upton (R.-Mich.) promised to make mental-health reform a priority this fall. Continue Reading on Washington Post...

Tough Alcohol Policies Linked to Lower Death Rates From Liver Damage

October 15, 2015, US News

States with strong alcohol control policies have lower death rates connected to alcohol-related liver damage, a new study finds. Continue reading on