Author Archives: Bob Curley

Feds Release Final Rules on Electronic Health Records

The expanded use of electronic health records -- intended to improve and streamline healthcare services -- has become a bone of contention in the addiction community, where unique privacy concerns could hamper integration with the rest of healthcare. Squabbles aside, however, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) is pressing forward with regulations (and incentives) to promote wider adoption of electronic health records across the healthcare system. …

Fight to Save Public Funding for Methadone in California

Methadone maintenance is on the budgetary chopping block in California, but supporters -- including some prominent law-enforcement officials -- are trying to get $53 million in funding restored to the state budget. A plan to eliminate Medi-Cal funding for methadone maintenance is "tantamount to destroying the lives of 35,000 people, as well as having them return to addiction," according to a column by Lee Baca and Charlie Beck -- the sheriff of Los Angeles County and L.A.’s police chief, respectively. The pair note that cutting the funding will actually result in a double loss as federal matching funds will be forfeited. …

Is Obesity Overtaking Tobacco Use as Top Threat to Kids in Public Mind?

Youth smoking had a good run as a top-of-mind issue among U.S. parents and preventionists -- 30 years or more, by some estimates -- but now seems to have taken a back seat to childhood obesity in the national consciousness. …

Addiction and Mental Health: Words (Still) Matter

SAMHSA administrator Pamela Hyde reopened the long-running discussion on use of addiction and mental health language in an article in the March/April 2010 issue of SAMHSA News, where she asked readers to submit their suggestions and feedback on certain terms commonly used to describe addiction and mental illness. …

RAND’s Analysis of Calif. Marijuana Legalization Plan Now Available

The RAND Corp. has published a detailed analysis of the possible ramifications of marijuana legalization in California, as proposed under the Proposition 19 ballot initiative. The findings are certain to annoy both supporters and opponents of legalization -- usually a sign that the authors did a pretty good job. …

Schumer Lauded for Stance on Alcoholic Energy Drinks

The Marin Institute is pleased as punch over Sen. Charles Schumer’s call for a Federal Trade Commission investigation into the marketing of alcoholic energy drinks. …

Don’t Forget Tobacco, Experts Say

Funding for tobacco prevention programs has dried up and -- perhaps not coincidentally -- progress against smoking in the U.S. has stalled, Steven A. Schroeder, M.D., and Kenneth E. Warner, Ph.D. wrote in a New England Journal of Medicine editorial that called for renewed attention to countermarketing efforts and other interventions. …

Marin: Big Bang for Booze Bucks

Talk about return on investment: A new report from the Marin Institute says that the alcohol industry parlayed $3 million in California political donations into the defeat of $2 billion in proposed alcohol taxes and mitigation fees. The industry watchdog drew a direct connection between industry donations to Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger’s Budget Reform Now poliical-action committee and the withdrawal of the governor’s $751-million alcohol tax proposal. "We found Big Alcohol standing over the smoldering ruins of a failed state budget," said Bruce Lee Livingston, executive director of the Marin Institute. The full report is available on the Marin website. …

Chicago Charity Motorcycle Ride Benefits FAS Programs

Chicago-area FASTeam is sponsoring a 150-mile charity motorcycle ride on Aug. 15 to raise money for research and awareness about Fetal Alcohol Syndrome (FAS). The 2010 F.A.S.T Ride, which will be aided by local police who will provide traffic control, is the 6th annual charity event by FASTeam, founded by husband and wife Walt and Kathy Teichen. …