There are 14 new HIV infections in an outbreak that his hit homeless drug users in the Seattle area. These are the predictable consequences of an uncompassionate, feckless public health policy.
While there's no formula to determine the "correct answer" for public health policy, there are guidelines that can at least point policymakers in the right direction. Ultimately, what separates good public health policy from bad public health policy is a satisfactory response to three essential questions.
We no longer provide treatment to drug-addicted or mentally ill people who cannot, or will not, care for themselves. Society has decided that it's more compassionate to allow these unfortunate souls to make their own choices, even if those choices are irrational, self-destructive and dangerous to the community.
Better safe than sorry. That's a great lesson for a child when a parent explains why she should wear a helmet when riding her bicycle. But that refrain makes for terrible public health policy.
If smokers follow the advice of Glantz, a professor at the University of California-San Francisco, they will die. It's that simple.
The litany of new problems these glorified billing platforms have created (and old ones they never solved) is discussed often today, ranging from their role in medication errors to job dissatisfaction. But, the most basic, fundamental harm is largely ignored.
The prevalence of cigarette smoking among American adults is at an all-time low. Many media outlets decided to downplay or ignore this milestone public health achievement and instead scare people about vaping.
When what's absent in a story carries equal or more weight than what is actually reported, the damage goes beyond ratings. It undermines public health.
Information is like any other medical therapy. When it's within a therapeutic range, it can be curative. But at toxic levels, it can be destructive. Its quantity will never trump its quality.
How lucky we are to be alive when, while enduring catastrophic events, the possibility of real-time help is literally at our fingertips.
It's important to remember that the progress already made in the field is due to long-term support. But, the job isn't finished until people no longer endure this diagnosis along with its compounded suffering.
Chronic pain is a major public health challenge. The reason is that the treatment of chronic pain has become, in part, a political issue. And that's to the detriment of 20 million high-impact chronic patients, who are disproportionately women or poor people.