Friday Fix: April 27, 2018

Romaine lettuce contaminated with e.coli harms 84 people in 19 states; "Spring Fling" EMS Conference Takes Place this Weekend; and Benzodiazepines are America's 'Other Prescription Drug Problem'

friday fix

We get it – keeping up with daily news is hard.

That’s why every other week, North Country Vitals picks three pieces of important healthcare news and compiles them into the Friday FixSome are local and others affect our state, country, or world. We even do our best to break down complicated subjects and offer commentary to help you understand how the news affects your daily life.

So, what has been making headlines in healthcare recently? Here’s what we found:

1. “E. Coli Flare-Up Is Largest Multistate Outbreak Since 2006”

Since mid-March, more than 80 people in 19 states have been infected with E. coli from eating romaine lettuce, according to this article in the New York Times.

In response to the outbreak, the Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has advised everyone to avoid buying or eating romaine lettuce unless they are sure it has not come from Yuma, Arizona — where the tainted lettuce has been traced back to.

So far, illnesses have been reported in the following states: Alaska, Arizona, California, Colorado, Connecticut, Georgia, Idaho, Illinois, Louisiana, Michigan, Missouri, Montana, New Jersey, New York, Ohio, South Dakota, Virginia and Washington. To read the full article, click here.

2. “‘Spring Fling’ conference to provide training, remarks from ‘Emergency!’ television star”

Starting yesterday and continuing through the weekend, hundreds of local EMTs, paramedics and other emergency medical service providers are gathering in Alexandria Bay to continue their education and training at the 19th annual “Spring Fling” EMS Conference.

According to this article in the Watertown Daily Times, the conference includes lectures and trainings on a wide range of topics. The keynote speaker this year will be Randolph Mantooth, star of the 1970s television series “Emergency!”

“It’s a great networking opportunity for them to learn from each other,” Ann M. Smith, North Country Regional EMS program director, told the Times. “Not only medical skills, but the operational skills for their agencies.”

Click here to read the full article.

3. “Benzodiazepines: America’s ‘Other Prescription Drug Problem'”

With so many overdose deaths being caused by heroin and other opioids, America’s addiction to benzodiazepines has been somewhat overlooked, according to this report from NPR News.

The article mentions a recent essay in the New England Journal of Medicine, titled “Our Other Prescription Drug Problem,” which highlights massive growth in the use and abuse of “benzos” in the United States. It states that deaths attributed to benzodiazepine have increased sevenfold in the past two decades, and the number of prescriptions for the drug have increased 67 percent from 8.1 million in 1999 to 13.5 million in 2013.

“The problem with benzos, as they’re also known, is that they’re highly addictive medications, both physically and psychologically,” reporter John Henning Schumann says. “Moreover, with long-term use, our metabolism adjusts to benzos. We need higher doses to achieve the same effects.”

To read or listen to the entire report, click here.

Come back May 11th for the next Friday Fix!

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