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Report: States failing to curb prescription abuse

First, the negatives. The faux laces are an abomination. Theyre the hockey jersey equivalent of basketballs short-sleeves . Those, and the shiny graphics on the shoulder, make these so-called sweaters look like T-shirt jerseys designed by Ed Hardy. Nike also cant get enough of arm stripes, which oddly appear only on the left arms of Team Canadas jerseys. Thats a good look if youre in a 1920s totalitarian army, but not so much when youre trying to score goals against Finland. Its not all bad, however. At least Nike used a Canadian symbol the maple leaf as the dominant image on its two main jerseys. It looks great and is immediately identifiable. These look how Canadian hockey sweaters should. Contrast that with the U.S. jerseys that have what appears to be a cartoon-version of a K-Swiss logo on theirs. The black alternate jersey has received the most scorn, but Im digging it.

The government has been scraping up against the debt ceiling since May, and now looks set to hit it around mid-month. When it does, the Treasury thinks it will have about $30 billion in the bank. Because it won’t be able to add to the national debt, bills will have to be paid with incoming revenues and cash on hand. – How long will the money last? Not long at all. The Congressional Budget Office thinks the United States would start missing payments on at least some of its obligations between October 22 and the end of the month. No one knows the exact day because you can’t know what tomorrow’s tax revenues will look like. – The United States defaults when the money runs out, right? It depends how you define default. Historically, default is when a country misses a payment to a creditor. The Obama administration says default would include any missed payment, such as payments for public health insurance. The first really big bill due after hitting the debt ceiling is a $12 billion Social Security payment on October 23. – When would financial markets melt down? Markets would be alarmed if it looked like bondholders would go unpaid for an extended period, and might even panic if any government checks were delayed.

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“In the past two decades we’ve seen many advances in the development of new prescription drugs, which have been a miracle for many,” said Jeff Levi, executive director of Trust for America’s Health. “But we’ve also seen a corresponding rise in misuse, and the consequences can be dire.” There is some good news. The estimated number of Americans who abuse prescription drugs was 6.1 million in 2011, down from 7 million the previous year, according to the National Survey on Drug Use and Health. But the number of drug overdose deaths, the majority of which are due to prescription drugs, has doubled in 29 states since 1999, according to this new report. And in some of those states the number of deaths has tripled, or even quadrupled. Trust for America’s Health evaluated each state on several strategies that have shown promise in fighting against prescription drug abuse. One was prescription drug monitoring programs, which help pharmacists and doctors identify patients who are “doctor shopping,” or visiting various doctors to fill more prescriptions. While 49 of the 50 states had these programs in place, only 16 required medical providers to use them, according to the report. The organization also looked at Rescue Drug laws in each state. “Rescue Drug” refers to the prescription drug naloxone, which has shown to be effective in counteracting an overdose. “People who have to take these pain relievers or who are caring for someone taking them may want to explore whether they can get a prescription for naloxone to have it on hand as a rescue drug in the event of an overdose,” said Andrea Geilen, director of the Johns Hopkins Center for Injury Research and Policy.