Perspectives: Pros, Cons Of Letting Sacklers Off Opioid Hook; Stop Using Police On Mental Health Problems
Editorial pages focus on these public health issues.
The New York Times:
The Sacklers’ Last Poison Pill
The opioid crisis remains one of America’s deadliest public health disasters. Victims demand answers about how it happened and who was responsible. The House Committee on Oversight and Reform seemed poised to address a facet of the crisis with a hearing this coming Tuesday on the role of Purdue Pharma and its owners, the Sackler family, “in fueling the opioid epidemic.” The committee invited Purdue’s president and chief executive, Craig Landau, and four members of the Sackler family who were longtime company directors and were, according to the committee, “closely involved in Purdue’s efforts to grow the market share for OxyContin and other opioids.” Now, we have learned that the committee, pressured by the Sackler legal team, has postponed the hearing to January. But January may be too late. (Jonathan C. Lipson and Gerald Posner, 12/5)
Cops Shouldn't Be First At Mental Health Call. NYC Program Needed Nationwide.
Last month, New York Mayor Bill de Blasio announced the pilot of a new program that would end the city's de facto police response to mental health emergencies. The city's health department and hospitals will help train new mental health teams and provide case conferencing. Mental health professionals will be the responders for a person in crisis. The program will be piloted in two high-need precincts.As a mental health provider, I am encouraged and relieved by this new initiative. It will allow New Yorkers, and perhaps the entire country, to reimagine how to address the mental and physical safety of those who are frequently put in danger by insufficiently trained officers. (Amanda Flalk, 12/2)
A Mother's Fragile Recovery Reminds Us That The Opioid Crisis Is Still Here
It is February 12. Ebony Clancy's tight townhome in Dayton, Ohio, is crowded with a film crew, "This Is Life" host Lisa Ling and myself, all there to understand the damage the opioid crisis has inflicted upon American families. As we visited her home, Clancy shared what she wanted above all else: to be reunited with her three-month-old baby girl Merceades. To do that, she would have to stop using heroin, a drug that had killed her brother and mother, and led Clancy to relinquish custody of her first two daughters at age 19. (Daniel Heimpel, 12/5)
The Providence Journal:
The Criminalization Of Mental Illness
This holiday season, many families are missing loved ones who are incarcerated for the crime of having an untreated serious mental illness. In Rhode Island, 15% to 20% of inmates have schizophrenia, schizo-affective disorder, major depressive disorder, bipolar disorder, brief psychotic disorder and substance use disorder. Mental illness itself is not predictive of criminal behavior. In fact, it increases the likelihood of being victimized. (Laurie-Marie Pisciotta, 12/6)
A New Rule Protects VA Clinicians Who Practice Across State Lines
Amid the pandemonium of a turbulent election and a resurgent virus, the Department of Veterans Affairs quietly released in mid-November what could be a groundbreaking new policy. The interim final rule allows VA health providers to “practice their health care profession consistent with the scope and requirements of their VA employment, notwithstanding any … State requirements that unduly interfere with their practice,” such as state licensing, credentialing, and registration. (Eli Cahan, 12/7)