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Prisons: The forgotten front in opioid war

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first_imgAnd in the two weeks following their release, former prisoners are 129 times more likely to die from overdose than members of the general population. This is despite the fact that we have robust evidence showing that we can decrease the incidence of relapse, overdose, drug-related health complications like HIV transmission, criminal activity after release and recidivism by offering treatment.And unequivocal data highlights that medication-assisted therapy — that is, treatment with methadone or suboxone — in prisons saves lives. A study published recently in the journal Addiction showed that offering medication-assisted treatment in prisons reduced drug-related overdose deaths by 85 percent in the four-week period following prisoner release and reduced mortality from all causes by 75 percent over the same period.Few other medical interventions have demonstrated such success. Unfortunately, however, the majority of correctional facilities in the United States do not offer programs for people addicted to opioids.Out of the 3,200 U.S. jails, only 23 provide maintenance therapy to inmates. Categories: Editorial, OpinionMultiple leaders across the nation, including Maryland Gov. Larry Hogan and even President Donald Trump, have declared states of emergency in response to the opioid epidemic.Policymakers claim to be battling this public health crisis on all fronts, but one arena continues to be conspicuously ignored: our prisons and jails. Roughly half of all incarcerated individuals suffer from addiction. And if we want to save lives on the streets, we cannot send people out of prisons untreated and abandon them when they are the most vulnerable to overdose.If we’re serious about addressing the opioid epidemic, we have to pay attention to the evidence demonstrating that opioid treatment in jails and prisons is highly effective.And we must act by quickly expanding such treatment to many more facilities around the country. Current programs offering in-facility treatment should guide the nation, serving as examples of how we can provide vulnerable, disenfranchised people with the care they deserve as fellow humans and members of our society.If we claim, whether as a community, a state or a nation, to be fighting the opioid crisis on all fronts, let us not forget one that offers undeniable evidence of a way to save lives. Dr. Justin Berk is a combined internal medicine/pediatrics resident in urban health at Johns Hopkins Hospital.More from The Daily Gazette:Foss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen?EDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesEDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motorists This is a critical public health issue, and the benefits of the therapies we can offer to people with opioid addiction who are currently incarcerated reach far beyond those individuals.Our communities benefit too when we help those suffering from addiction get the care they need to survive and live healthy lives. Skeptics will argue against such treatment by asserting that it is too expensive, or that it will be “diverted“ and used inappropriately, or that the people with addictions who end up incarcerated should have taken more personal responsibility.But these interventions have been shown to be cost-effective.Diversion can be minimized, while treatment could actually improve security.And moralizing arguments against a well-recognized psychiatric disorder are antiquated, demonstrating poor knowledge of evidence-based treatment, if not also little compassion for a vulnerable population. I have seen first-hand that suboxone allows many people to concentrate on their lives instead of their addictions upon their release from jail or prison. And out of the 50 state prison systems, only four offer such treatment.This means that people who are fortunate enough to be part of a treatment program before their incarceration are, upon their entrance to a jail or prison, often taken off their medications and forced to endure cruel, painful and dangerous periods of withdrawal. This is not a problem of resources.Many incarcerated patients currently receive appropriate care for other chronic conditions, including diabetes, HIV, cancer and even more-newly-recognized disorders, like gender dysphoria.Our federal and state corrections systems have the capacity to offer this treatment — a treatment defined as “essential medicine“ by the World Health Organization.The inability to access medical treatment with such established benefits is an unacceptable violation of prisoners’ constitutional right to basic health care.But this is not just an issue of rights, and this is not just about prisoners.last_img read more

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Walnuts ‘improve sperm health’

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first_img Share HealthInternationalLifestylePrint Walnuts ‘improve sperm health’ by: – August 16, 2012 Could two handfuls of walnuts a day keep the fertility doctor away?Eating around two handfuls of walnuts a day improves sperm health in young men, a study in the journal Biology of Reproduction suggests.Sperm shape, movement and vitality improved in men who added walnuts to their diet over 12 weeks.The fatty acids found in these nuts are thought to have helped sperm development. It is not known if this would help improve male fertility. About one in six couples are infertile, with 40% of these due to a male factor. Dr Allan Pacey, senior lecturer in andrology at the University of Sheffield said: “It would be relatively easy to poke fun at studies like this, but there is increasing evidence to show that aspects of a man’s diet can affect the number and quality of sperm produced by his testicles.”The researchers say the next step is to work with couples who are attending infertility clinics to determine if placing sub-fertile men, with poor semen quality, on a walnut diet results in better success conceiving. It is thought that infertility in men may be a result of too few sperm being made, or that the sperm have poor swimming ability, size or shape. Walnut supplementThis study involved 117 men between the ages of 21 and 35, who were divided into two groups. One group added 2.6 ounces (75 grams) of whole-shelled walnuts to their daily diet. The other group continued their usual diet but avoided eating tree nuts. Both groups ate a typical Western-style diet.Lead author, Prof Wendie Robbins from UCLA’s Fielding School of Public Health said: “We found a significant improvement in sperm parameters in the group that consumed the walnuts.Healthy sperm“The men who ate no tree nuts saw no change.”Sperm quality improved in terms of concentration, vitality, movement, shape and chromosome abnormalities.Dr Pacey said: “The study has been well executed and my only criticism would be that the men in the walnut-eating arm of the trial could have altered other aspects of their behaviour to give the results shown in the paper. “A better trial would be to produce tablets of walnut extract that looked identical to a placebo so that the study was completely blind. “In spite of this, the results of the study show a small but statistically significant improvement in sperm health.”These benefits may be down to the fatty acids in the nuts. Co-author Catherine Carpenter, from the UCLA Centre for Human Nutrition said: “Walnuts provide a particularly rich source of a-linolenic acid, a natural plant source of omega-3, which we suspect may have been responsible for the improvements we observed.”The walnuts for the study were supplied by the California Walnut Commission and the study was funded by the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health’s Centre for Occupational and Environmental Health.BBC News Share Tweetcenter_img 12 Views   no discussions Share Sharing is caring!last_img read more

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