Perspectives: Lessons On Why The FDA Has Failed To Regulate E-Cigs; Finding Agreement Across The Aisle On Gun Safety
Opinion writers weigh in on these public health issues and others.
The FDA Tried To Regulate E-Cigarettes But Others Tied Its Hands
When it comes to the public’s health, it always seems to take a crisis before protections are put in place. The Food, Drug, and Cosmetic Act of 1938 — the bedrock law that first required companies to conduct safety studies of medications before they could be sold — was passed only after a tainted drug killed scores of children. In 1962, a scare over birth defects caused by thalidomide led to groundbreaking standards for clinical trials. Medical device controls? Enacted in 1976 after the Dalkon Shield caused infertility and infections in thousands of women. Food safety legislation? It received bipartisan support only after the recall of 500 million eggs tainted by salmonella. My public health students often ask an obvious question: Why is it so challenging for regulatory agencies to prevent calamities in the first place? In years past, I have struggled with a concise answer to this question — until now. (Joshua M. Sharfstein, 11/21)
Amid Shootings, Let's Finish Bipartisan Gun Deal With Trump: 3 Senators
There is no escaping gun violence in America.In the sleepy hamlet of Sandy Hook, Connecticut, a disturbed young man needed only five minutes to murder 20 first-graders and six educators. In Philadelphia, this year is on track to end with the city suffering more homicides, most of them perpetrated with a gun, than any other year in the past decade. In rural West Virginia, suicides are on the rise, with the firearm as the common method of choice. In under a week, we’ve seen shootings in Santa Clarita, San Diego and Fresno, California; in Pleasantville, New Jersey; and, just this Monday, in Duncan, Oklahoma. (U.S. Senators Chris Murphy, Pat Toomey and Joe Manchin, 11/19)
Doctor's Orders: Support Land And Water Conservation
Humans are a part of nature. We can’t be healthy if the world around us isn’t healthy enough to sustain, nourish and protect us. And without a healthy population, we can’t achieve our full potential for generating strong economies, driving innovation and securing a safe future. Nature is at the heart of it all. Supporting nature and supporting ourselves is one and the same task, and it is a critical task. Right now, Congress has a chance to make big gains in supporting nature by enacting a solution that already has broad bipartisan support: Fully fund the Land and Water Conservation Fund (LWCF). (Former Sen. Bill Frist, 11/20)
The Washington Post:
Yes, Marijuana Has A Gateway Effect. But So Do Most Addictive Substances.
When former vice president Joe Biden asserted over the weekend that marijuana shouldn’t be legal because it might be a “gateway” to hard drug use, pro-legalization critics were quick to paint him as an out-of-touch codger still fighting the last drug war. But the reaction isn’t entirely fair: Yes, the marijuana gateway theory that was omnipresent in the 1980s was at best distorted and at worst dishonest. Nevertheless, gateways between marijuana and other addictive substances are real — and they swing in both directions. (Keith Humphreys, 11/20)
Boston’s Pot Equity Law Long Overdue
At long last, Boston has a plan for how it will license marijuana businesses to open up shop in the new era of legalized recreational use. The city has now finally spelled out how it intends to help people from communities most affected by the war on drugs to become local marijuana business operators. This was a long-overdue step to outline how Boston will fulfill the principle of social equity made explicit in the marijuana law Massachusetts voters passed via ballot initiative in 2016. (11/21)