Policy & Ethics

The so-called War on Drugs, a spectacular failure by any measure, just got more complicated (and worse) because of vaping. New ACSH advisor Dr. Jeffrey Singer (pictured) argues that we are seeing a modern version of Prohibition decorated with vaping devices.
There's a pervasive bias in academia against scientists who work in industry. It is often said that such individuals aren’t "real scientists." The less charitable describe them as having gone over to the so-called dark side. For at least two reasons, this is a shameful and hypocritical way to characterize industry.
Our northern neighbor has banned flavors in vaping products since 2015. The results are mixed, and the ban represents an incomplete solution to underage use of this new nicotine delivery system. If flavor is not the only gateway, might we consider the desire to rebel and be part of a group?
We're now nearly two years into taxing sugar-sweetened beverages. The current data on individual household purchases shows that these taxes are slimming wallets more than waistlines. And of the four cities considered, only Philadelphia showed a persistent decline in consumption, reaping all the "benefit."
ACSH advisor Dr. Wolfgang Vogel was not pleased about how the 1998 settlement money between the tobacco industry and state governments was spent. Little of the $246 billion actually went to smoking cessation programs. Will we see the same irresponsible use of funds obtained from lawsuits against opioid makers?
It's no secret that the CDC's 2016 Advice on opioid prescribing, by any measure, has been an unmitigated disaster. Dr. Red Lawhern, ACSH advisor and pain patient advocate, spares no one in his discussion of the egregious mistakes that the CDC made -- and continues to make.
The DEA, which has been merciless to pain patients in its misdirected war on opioids, just stepped it up even further. Thanks to an Oregon Representative, we now have SORS (yet another way to restrict prescription painkillers) and SUPPORT, the law that created it. Just plain (and pain) awful.
Despite our efforts, healthcare spending is often like Whack-A-Mole: hammer down the costs here and they pop up there. For instance, Medicare’s payment for some forms of diagnostic testing show that regulations designed to lower costs instead make them steadily rise.
Followers of the opioid crisis know that nothing much makes sense. And if you follow Proposition 65 madness in California, you know that doesn't add up either. So if you're in the mood for something that puts the Crazyometer® needle in the red, here it is. You will not be disappointed. 
The media has played a big part in disseminating false information about the causes of the opioid crisis, and it has done tremendous harm in the process. Addiction specialist Dr. Wolfgang Vogel gives his opinion on inaccurate reporting and its consequences.
A long campaign season might make American politicians uniquely incentivized not to solve problems. It's easier to raise money and scare up enough votes to get elected by promising change, rather than actually delivering it. This harms public health.
One of the arguments against the legalization of marijuana is that more teenagers will end up using it. But data show that teenage use of cannabis decreased after legalization.