Opinion: Evan Low’s legislation will help reduce opioid abuse

Opioid abuse today is devastating families and destroying communities. Yet patients often need opioids to control unrelenting pain. The effort to control opioid abuse must be tempered with the need to treat pain humanely and adequately. In 2016, opioid overdoses killed more than 42,000 people in the United States. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, deaths from prescribed opioids have leveled off since 2010, but there have been sharp increases in deaths from heroin and illegal synthetic opioids including fentanyl. Legally prescribed opioids often are the gateway to the use of heroin and other potentially lethal opioids. Assemblymember Evan Low, D-San Jose, is doing his part to… Read More

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Walters: How would Gavin Newsom pay for his promises?

Barring some calamitous meltdown on his part, Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom will become the next governor of California. Newsom all but locked up the governorship last week when fellow Democrat Antonio Villaraigosa failed to place second in the top-two primary election, allowing Newsom to face a token Republican foe, San Diego businessman John Cox. On election night, Newsom reiterated the left-of-center agenda he would pursue as governor, to wit: “Guaranteed health care for all. A ‘Marshall Plan’ for affordable housing. A master plan for aging with dignity. A middle-class workforce strategy. A cradle-to-college promise for the next generation. An all-hands approach to ending child poverty.” Promising to be “audacious” and… Read More

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Group fights California bill to declare gay conversion therapy a fraud

By SOPHIA BOLLAG – The Associated Press SACRAMENTO — An effort to call gay conversion therapy a fraudulent business practice gained ground in the California state Senate on Tuesday, despite opposition from hundreds who rallied to fight the proposal on religious grounds. The Judiciary Committee passed the proposal, which means it is a step closer to being considered by the entire state Senate. An earlier version of the legislation has already passed the state Assembly. Sen. Bill Monning, a Democrat from Carmel, said he heard from some people who said they opposed the legislation because they believed it would restrict the reading of or sale of the Bible. He said… Read More

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House begins ‘vote-a-thon’ on bills battling opioid abuse

By ALAN FRAM | The Associated Press WASHINGTON (AP) — The House dove Tuesday into a two-week vote-a-thon on dozens of bills aimed at opioid abuse, as lawmakers try to tackle a crisis that’s killing tens of thousands a year and to score a popular win they can tout for the midterm elections. A handful of the measures are contentious, including one Republican bill that would create new criminal penalties for making or trafficking certain synthetic drugs containing fentanyl. That powerful opioid can be made illegally and is taking a growing toll. Democrats complain that the legislation would give the government unfettered power to decide which drugs would be banned,… Read More

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Is administration ending coverage of preexisting conditions?

By Amy Goldstein and Laurie McGinley | The Washington Post WASHINGTON — Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar told lawmakers on Tuesday that he wants to preserve access to affordable insurance for Americans with preexisting medical conditions, but he declined to disclose his view of an administration move that could undercut such consumer protections. Calling it “a constitutional position … not a policy position,” Azar sidestepped grilling on whether he agreed with a legal brief filed last week by Justice Department attorneys stating they would not defend the Affordable Care Act in a federal lawsuit by Texas and 19 other Republican-led states. Start your day with the news you… Read More

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Which US ‘hotspot’ is at highest risk because parents skip vaccines?

By Lena H. Sun Public health officials have long known that the United States has pockets of vulnerability where the risk of measles and other vaccine-preventable childhood diseases is higher because parents hesitate or refuse to get their children immunized. Eighteen states allow parents to opt their children out of school immunization requirements for nonmedical reasons, with exemptions for religious or philosophical beliefs. And in two-thirds of those states, a comprehensive new analysis finds a rising number of kindergartners who have not been vaccinated. Start your day with the news you need from the Bay Area and beyond. Sign up for our new Morning Report weekday newsletter. In a report… Read More

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