Viewpoints: Covid Increased Hospital Closures; Bill 519 Will Decriminalize Psychedelics In California
Editorial pages tackle these public health issues.
Post-COVID Hospital Closure Boom On The Horizon
More than three decades after the publication of And the Wolf Finally Came: The Decline of the American Steel Industry, John Hoerr's book about the social upheaval wrought by Rust Belt deindustrialization remains as relevant as ever. It's most relevant, of course, in places like Pittsburgh, where I live and work, and where we still bear the scars from that slow-motion economic disruption and ensuing workforce dislocation. But it's also relevant to those of us working in healthcare, which is facing its own disruptions. (Dr. Jeffery Cohen, 5/27)
California's Psychedelic Drug Decriminalization Is Long Overdue. I Wrote The Bill To Fix That.
I didn’t always think of psychedelics as medicine with the potential to help people work through mental health issues and addiction. I grew up in D.A.R.E.-era suburban New Jersey as the so-called war on drugs was in full swing. That term was coined in 1971 under President Richard Nixon, and he, along with subsequent administrations — notably the Reagan administration — helped develop our current system of racist drug criminalization and mass incarceration. Like most Americans, I grew up hearing the constant refrain that all drugs were inherently bad, that we had to “just say no,” and that drug use would (and should) be punished. (Scott Wiener, California state senator, 5/27)
The Rise Of Neurotechnology Calls For A Parallel Focus On Neurorights
In Chile, the National Commission for Scientific and Technological Research has begun to debate a “neurorights” bill to be written into the country’s constitution. The world, and most importantly the OECD, UNESCO and the United Nations, should be watching closely. The Chilean bill sets out to protect the right to personal identity, free will, mental privacy, equitable access to technologies that augment human capacities, and the right to protection against bias and discrimination. The landmark bill would be the first of its kind to pioneer a regulatory framework which protects human rights from the manipulation of brain activity. The relatively nascent concept of neurorights follows a number of recent medical innovations, most notably brain-computer interface technology (BCI), which has the potential to revolutionize the field of neuroscience. (Nayef Al-Rodhan, 5/27)
Create The Advanced Research Projects Agency For Health Wisely
The U.S. needs a bold initiative to achieve transformative progress in the fight against Alzheimer’s disease, cancer, cardiovascular disease, diabetes, and countless other diseases that cut lives short or hold them back. The best way to do this is by building on the incredible scientific discoveries emerging from, or funded by, the National Institutes of Health (NIH) and from the nation’s biotech and pharmaceutical research centers. (George Vradenburg and Ellen V. Sigal, 5/27)