The U.S. should rethink its entire approach to painkillers and the people addicted to them, panel urges (LA Times)

To reverse a still-spiraling American crisis fueled by prescription narcotic drugs, a panel of experts advising the federal government has recommended sweeping changes in the ways that physicians treat pain, their patients cope with pain, and government and private insurers support the care of people living with chronic pain.

In a comprehensive report on what must be done to staunch the toll of opiates in the United States, a panel of the National Academies of Science, Engineering and Medicine makes clear that steps needed to prevent the creation of future opiate addicts will drive some people who are now dependent on these medications toward street drugs such as fentanyl and heroin.

“It is therefore ethically imperative to couple a strategy for reducing lawful access to opioids with an investment in treatment for the millions of individuals” already hooked on the painkillers, the panel wrote.

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Federal cuts affect Baltimore teen pregnancy prevention programs (WBAL-TV)

The White House is cutting millions in federal funding to teen pregnancy prevention programs, which has left some in Baltimore feeling blindsided.

Baltimore City health leaders are scrambling to regroup this week after sudden word from the federal government that funding has been cut to two major teen pregnancy prevention programs.

The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services is pulling the plug on more than $200 million in Obama-era grants to 81 teen pregnancy prevention programs and research projects across the country. It adds up to a $2 million budget gap for Baltimore's Healthy Teen Network.

"The whole field, I think, was blindsided," said Pat Paluzzi, with the Healthy Teen Network. "To all of a sudden get the letter saying your grant either ended June 30 of this year or was ending June 30 of next year, two years ahead of schedule, was a hard pill to swallow."

The Baltimore City Health Department is losing $3.5 million, which is the last two years of its grant to provide health education to middle and high school students.

"(It) means about 20,000 of our students are not going to be able to get these comprehensive reproductive health education services anymore," Baltimore Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen said.

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Dangerous heat expected for Artscape weekend (WMAR-TV)

With a heat index expected of between 101 and 104 degrees expected beginning tomorrow through the weekend, Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen has issued a Code Red Heat Advisory for Thursday, July 20, 2017 through Sunday, July 23, 2017. The heat index is a measure of air temperature and relative humidity and indicates how hot it feels to individuals outside.

"Heat is a silent killer and a public health threat, particularly for the young, the elderly and those in our city who are the most vulnerable," Dr. Wen said. "As Baltimore prepares for a fun weekend with one of the nation's largest free arts festivals, it is important for all residents to protect against hyperthermia and dehydration. Please be cautious and remember to stay cool and hydrated."

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Code Red Heat Advisory Issued For Baltimore For Artscape Weekend (WJZ-TV)

Baltimore City Health Commissioner Dr. Leana Wen has issued a code red heat advisory for Artscape weekend.

The heat advisory is for Thursday, July 20, through Sunday, July 23, as the heat index is expected to be between 101 and 104 degrees

“Heat is a silent killer and a public health threat, particularly for the young, the elderly and those in our city who are the most vulnerable,” Dr. Wen said in a release. “As Baltimore prepares for a fun weekend with one of the nation’s largest free arts festivals, it is important for all residents to protect against hyperthermia and dehydration. Please be cautious and remember to stay cool and hydrated.”

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