The Food and Drug Administration announced Tuesday that it would block generic, crushable versions of OxyContin from coming to the market and approve the reformulated, non-crushable OxyContin, which deters abuse of the powerful painkiller.U.S. Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell applauded the move. “Given the public health epidemic of prescription drug abuse and the ravaging effects it has on families all across Kentucky, this announcement is great news and will prevent an influx of crushable, generic OxyContin from coming to market,” McConnell said in a release.OxyContin is a potent drug designed to treat severe pain. Without abuse-deterrent formulas, addicts can crush the pills to get an immediate heroin-like high. The reformulated product has properties that make the tablet harder to crush, break, or dissolve and that prevent it from being injected in order to achieve a quick high, an FDA press release said.Drug overdoses are now the leading cause of death in Kentucky, and law enforcement, lawmakers and health providers have expressed their concerns that crushable, generic versions would worsen the problem.The FDA decision came on the same day manufacturer Purdue Pharma’s patent on the original drug was set to expire, and McConnell has been actively meeting with federal officials on behalf of those concerned. Rep. Hal Rogers, R-5th, also lobbied for it. (Read more)In an editorial, the Lexington Herald-Leader points out that the move means a continued OxyContin monopoly and more profits for Purdue Pharma, which "paid $600 million in fines in 2007, and three of the company's executives paid a total of $34.5 million, after they pleaded guilty to misleading doctors and the public about OxyContin's addictiveness. . . . We wonder why Rogers and McConnell aren't calling for Purdue to voluntarily share its new formulation."
We know that cigarettes are the number one cause of preventable death in the United States and around the world.
Here’s a fact that isn’t as well-known: Cigarettes are also the number one littered item on U.S. roadways and on beaches and in waterways worldwide.
In advance of Earth Day later this month, Legacyand the Leave No Trace Center for Outdoor Ethicshave launched a new set of TV and radio Public Service Announcements (PSAs)to raise awareness and spur action about this form of toxic trash. The campaign urges smokers and nonsmokers alike to “Rethink Butts” and consider the harm they cause to the environment.According to Legacy, “The dangers from smoking don’t stop once a cigarette is stubbed out. Cigarette butts leach toxic chemicals and carcinogens that pollute the environment. They’re poisonous to wildlife and can contaminate water sources.”
A story in The New York Times highlights the new campaign and the environmental harm caused by cigarettes, noting that more than one million cigarette butts were removed from U.S. beaches in 2011 as part of an annual coastal cleanup.
Watch the PSA and learn more about the campaign at http://rethinkbutts.org/
April 1-7 is National Public Health Week
FRANKFORT, Ky. (March 28, 2013) - The Kentucky Department for Public Health (DPH) is working to promote Public Health Week, an annual observance that focuses on critical public health issues to raise awareness and help people live longer, healthier lives. “In some way, public health touches everyone, every day in Kentucky. We are dedicated to making our infrastructure even stronger, including ongoing work to become nationally accredited in 2014, finding opportunities for improvement within our programs, and focusing on overall prevention for the health and well-being of Kentuckians,” said Public Health Commissioner Dr. Stephanie Mayfield. “We hope this week will serve as an opportunity for the public to learn more about the vital role of public health in Kentucky.”
The focus of this year’s National Public Health Week is the return on investment of public health services. Research shows that investing just $10 per person each year in proven, community-based public health efforts can save the nation more than $16 billion within five years. That’s a $5.60 return for every $1 invested.
“Our nation and community simply cannot sustain the current trajectory of health care spending and chronic disease rates,” said Dr. Mayfield. “Fortunately, we know that investing in prevention and public health can make an enormous difference and it’s the right direction for Kentucky to move in to address poor health outcomes.” Dr. Mayfield emphasized that supporting public health approaches to better health outcomes does reap life-saving returns. For example, research shows that each 10 percent increase in local public health spending contributes to a nearly 7 percent decrease in infant deaths, a 3.2 percent decrease in cardiovascular deaths and a 1.4 percent decrease in diabetes-related deaths. The American Public Health Association (APHA) serves as the organizer of National Public Health Week and develops a national campaign to educate the public, policymakers and practitioners about issues related to the chosen theme. Since 1995, communities nationwide have celebrated National Public Health Week each April to draw attention to the need to help protect and improve the nation’s health. APHA creates comprehensive planning, organizing and outreach materials that can be used during and after the week to raise awareness. “National Public Health Week helps educate and engage Americans in the movement to create a healthier America for ourselves and the generations to come,” said Georges C. Benjamin, M.D., executive director of the American Public Health Association. “The hundreds of events that take place this week help showcase the value of supporting prevention and the role that public health agencies, organizations and practitioners play in making prevention possible. We all have a role to play in making America the healthiest nation in one generation. And it starts with each of us taking the simple preventive steps that lead to better health.”
For more information about National Public Health Week, visit http://www.nphw.org/about. More information about Kentucky public health can be found at. http://chfs.ky.gov/dph/. The Cabinet for Health and Family Services is home to most of the state's human services and health care programs, including Medicaid, the Department for Community Based Services and the Department for Public Health. CHFS is one of the largest agencies in state government, with nearly 8,000 full and part-time employees throughout the Commonwealth focused on improving the lives and health of Kentuckians.
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