Price of OD Treatment Skyrockets

Naloxone Prices SkyrocketCritics say a Virginia company is cashing in on the opioid epidemic now gripping the nation by raising the price of a device that delivers life-saving naloxone from $690 for a twin-pack to a head-spinning $4,500 since 2014. Kaiser Health News reports that the company, Kaleo, defends the price hike because its device, called Evzio, talks and is able to guide anyone treating overdose victims through the process. Kaleo is now trying to blunt criticism by dispensing the device for free to cities, first responders and drug treatment programs. Still, the retail price limits access for individual patients and families. Moreover KHN reports, experts say the price surge is “out of step with production costs and drains health care resources.”

Florida Health Systems Train Local Police, Volunteers to Respond to Mental Health Issues

Five hospital systems in Jacksonville, Fla., have teamed up to train the public on how to help someone experiencing a mental health issue, Jacksonville.com reports. Hospital Coalition Fights Mental IllnessThrough an eight-hour “adult mental health first aid” course created by the health groups, a trained lay person might be able to identify someone considering suicide, for example. The Jacksonville community is trying to raise awareness about the preponderance of mental health issues in the area and plans to train all of its 3,000 police officers with the course. The health systems also have a goal to train 10,000 volunteers.

Snowy Days Show Drop in Heart-related Hospital Admissions

In honor of that big annual event on Sunday in which people gather ‘round the TV with snacks and drinks to watch what they hope will be an exciting clash, the Weekly Reading team thought it was appropriate to write about a study of weather-related hospital admissions. We’re not sure what big annual event you thought we meant, but of course we’re referring to National Weatherperson’s Day, the day when weather-watchers far and wide hold huge parties to celebrate all that is meteorological. Winter Weather Hospital AdmissionsThe study, published online by the American Journal of Epidemiology, found that hospital admissions for heart problems in the Boston region fell on major snow days compared with days when no snow fell, but rose sharply the two days after (not really shocking, but good to know). There are other interesting stats you can find in the study and this LiveScience article, but one might question the researcher’s classification of a moderate snow fall as being 5 to 10 inches worth. Spoken like true New Englanders.

Atlanta Falcons Spent More Than $81,000 on Opioids in 2009

Falcons Opioid AddictionWhile some of us will be supporting our local weather team (see above), others will tune in this Sunday, as the Atlanta Falcons meet the New England Patriots in Super Bowl LI. While the Patriots are no strangers to controversy (see deflategate and spygate), recently obtained emails from 2010 show concern in the Falcon’s organization with spending and reliance on painkillers, the Washington Post reports. Emails between Atlanta’s newly hired trainer in 2010 and the team’s general manager discuss “high dispensation of narcotics and regular medication compared to other clubs,” as well as concern with player and culture dependency on the drugs. Most shocking: The Falcons spent $81,000 on medications in 2009, while the averageNFL team average spent was $30,000 that year. There seems to be valid concern, and continuing proof of how deeply engrained opioids are in the U.S.