Combating low vaccinations rates has become a difficult problem for public health. Consumers often receive mixed messages and false information about the safety and efficacy of vaccines and the dangers of vaccine preventable diseases. There are, however, legal steps that can be taken to inccrease vaccination rates.
Many experts and advocates consider homelessness a critical public health issue. Professor James G. Hodge, Jr., director of the Network's Western Region Office, co-authored the article “Homelessness and the Public’s Health: Legal Responses” in the recently released Journal of Law, Medicine & Ethics supplemental issue. In this Q&A, he discusses his article and the role of law and advocacy to ameliorate the public health impact of homelessness.
Some of the public health law and policy stories that made headlines in April include the rising rate of kindergartener vaccinations in San Diego following a change in that state’s vaccination laws; smokeless tobacco use in major league ballparks; expanding “Health in All Policies” initiatives; a ban on the sale of flavored tobacco products in San Francisco; soda taxes; and more.
Not a lot of people think “public health” when examining state laws and policies regulating gambling—but public health professionals should. This is particularly true with respect to daily fantasy sports (DFS) because of its association with problem gambling conditions.
In an effort to reduce the costs of treating homeless individuals with chronic medical conditions by providing them with permanent housing, legislation was recently introduced in Hawaii that would classify homelessness as a medical condition.
Some of the public health law and policy stories that made headlines in March include a call by physicians for policy changes to better address the opioid epidemic, states’ efforts on oral health care access for the elderly, the effects of gun laws on suicide rates, and a new federal law requiring water companies to notify customers of lead and other dangerous contaminants in water.
The prevalence of severe black lung disease is rising at an alarming rate. With modification of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) looming, victims of black lung disease may soon face elimination of critical benefits and protection.
Prescribing drugs for patients is routine for physicians, but counseling pregnant patients about medication use is more complex. The FDA’s recent Pregnancy and Lactation Labeling Rule (PLLR) addresses this issue by making known drug safety data readily available to both doctors and patients.
While “Tobacco 21” and clean air laws are effective tobacco control strategies, particularly at reducing youth use, they’re not politically feasible in much of the country – twenty states still do not have comprehensive indoor smoking restrictions and only California and Hawaii have raised the minimum tobacco purchase age to 21. State and local tobacco licensing programs are critical to preventing youth use of tobacco products. These programs enable communities to identify retail businesses that sell tobacco products.
In 2015, 33,091 Americans died of accidental opioid overdose, that’s more deaths than from car crashes or guns. Early interventions to prevent and treat substance use disorder and opioid use disorder, save lives and resources. Although access to evidence-based prevention and treatment remains far below where it should be, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act have been instrumental in improving it.