Alabama and the nation are in the midst of an opioid epidemic, with deaths from prescription pain medication and heroin overdoses on the rise. Yet, as the death toll increased, Alabama cracked down on opioid addiction treatment centers, specifically methadone clinics. Currently two companies are trying to open methadone clinics in Lee County, and they’re seeing stiff pushback from local officials. Al.com's Amy Yurkanin recently reported on the state's struggle with methadone clinics, and she tells WBHM’s Rachel Osier Lindley more.
The Zika virus has popped up in Alabama, although you can't blame mosquitoes yet. The pests spread the disease but so far the only cases in the state are from people who have traveled to Zika infected areas. But public health officials are offering tips to fight mosquitoes, which spread a number of diseases.
Lawmakers approve a General Fund budget that left an $85 million hole in the state’s Medicaid program and the head of the Alabama GOP feels compelled to defend the party. The latest from Kyle Whitmire, political columnist for The Birmingham News and AL.com.
Opioids include pills like hydrocodone and morphine are often prescribed for pain. They also include drugs of abuse such as heroin. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports that more than 18,000 people died from opioid overdoses in 2014. Public initiatives from the CDC and the White House have focused on how doctors prescribe opioid pills for pain. Last week the CDC released a guideline urging doctors to show greater care and caution when prescribing opioids.
UAB epidemiologists are telling Alabamians there is low risk of a Zika outbreak developing in the state. The virus, which has flu-like symptoms, is currently spreading through parts of South and Central America. It’s also been associated with a rise in a rare birth defect. Dr. David Freeman of UAB is one of 12 members of the World Health Organization’s Emergency Committee on Zika. He says that Alabama will likely see more travel-related cases, but not home-grown.
Federal officials have approved Alabama's plan to switch its Medicaid program to managed care. Governor Robert Bentley made the announcement in a Tuesday press conference. The waiver approval comes after three years of planning and negotiation with federal officials over the proposed change.
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