Prevention and Public Health

As classes resume across the country this fall, the University of Iowa will join nearly 1,100 colleges and universities that have declared their campuses tobacco free. The new policy adds smokeless tobacco, snuff, water pipes and electronic cigarettes—or e-cigarettes—to their list of banned substances on campus, joining cigarette and cigar smoke under the school’s previous policy.

Earlier this year, Indiana experienced an outbreak of HIV in one small rural community that was traced back to needle-sharing among individuals using and abusing prescription drugs. Public health experts warn that other communities could encounter outbreaks of HIV and hepatitis C given the rampant abuse of prescription drugs and heroin. 

CSG's FREE eCademy webcast at 2 p.m. on Aug. 18  will explore lessons from Indiana's experience, policy options that states might pursue and the latest research on effective treatment of substance abuse.

Kentucky is taking the lead, using an innovative approach, to provide its 9,000 state employees and their dependents with readily accessible primary care options. The state has established health clinics that provide primary care and treatment for allergies, acute infections, strep throat, rashes, cold and flu, and routine wellness and prevention. Since its inception in 2010, state employees have experienced reduced time away from work, increased work productivity and reduced out-of-pocket health care costs.

This week Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law SB 277 which removes the personal belief exemption parents could use to exempt their children from vaccination requirements tied to public school attendance.  When the law becomes effective in 2016, California will become the third state, after Mississippi and West Virginia, to allow vaccination exemption for medical reasons only.  

Creating and implementing effective risk-management strategies for injection drug users is a challenge around the world. Countless policies have been proposed and implemented with varying degrees of success. The World Health Organization, also known as WHO, has developed a comprehensive program comprised of nine interventions designed to mitigate the risks associated with injection drug use, including needle exchange programs; opioid substitution therapy; prevention, diagnosis and treatment for diseases related to drug abuse, and public education campaigns for injection drug users and their sexual partners. Some of these strategies have been implemented recently by Midwestern states.

Sixteen states have passed laws explicitly authorizing needle exchange programs, and there are a number of states with statutes that either decrease barriers to the distribution of clean needles or altogether remove syringes from the list of drug paraphernalia. Additionally, a recent HIV outbreak in the small town of Austin, Ind., has led more states to consider authorizing such programs.

Sixteen states have passed laws explicitly authorizing needle exchange programs, and there are a number of states with statutes that either decrease barriers to the distribution of clean needles or altogether remove syringes from the list of drug paraphernalia. Additionally, a recent HIV outbreak in the small town of Austin, Ind., has led more states to consider authorizing such programs.

CSG Midwest
In the early part of 2015, an outbreak of HIV began spreading quickly in the small, southeast Indiana town of Austin. By the end of April, the number of confirmed cases had reached nearly 150, with many of them linked to use of the opioid painkiller Opana via needle injection.
Gov. Mike Pence declared a public health emergency in Scott County to deal with the outbreak and to allow for a temporary needle-exchange program, but Sen. Patricia Miller says it was important for the legislature to act as well.

There is no question that dental sealants prevent tooth decay and school sealant programs have been found to reduce the incidence of tooth decay by an average of 60 percent. 

The Pew Charitable Trusts released a report that grades states on how well they are reaching third graders, whether high-need schools are providing dental sealant programs and what other state policies are in place to encourage this evidence-based...

CSG South

In recent years, the United States has seen a growing popularity with the use of electronic cigarettes and similar electronic nicotine delivery devices. Electronic cigarettes, or e-cigarettes, are battery-operated single-use or reusable devices with interchangeable cartridges that use a type of heating element to turn nicotine and other chemicals into a vapor inhaled by its user. The cartridges come in a variety of colors and flavors, like apple pie, cotton candy, mint chocolate, and tutti frutti, just to name a few. It is suggested that the array of flavors, combined with the relative ease of purchasing e-cigarettes and its components at mall kiosks and online, has made e-cigarettes particularly popular among youth.

This Regional Resource from The Council of State Governments’ Southern Office, the Southern Legislative Conference (SLC), examines the regulations proposed by the FDA and the actions taken by 14 of the 15 SLC member states with regard to e-cigarettes through the 2014 legislative session.

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