Capitol Research

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.

Forty-five states levy a general statewide sales tax, with rates ranging from 2.9 to 7.5 cents $1 as of Jan. 1, 2015. Over the past decade, sales tax rates have remained relatively stable, with few states making significant changes. Among the states that levy a sales tax, the average rate was 5.64 percent in 2015, up from 5.35 percent in 2005.

Data regarding federal and state Medicaid expenditures from 2004 to 2014 show the significant impact the Great Recession had on the federal-state partnership program. Enrollment and expenditures increased during the 10-year period; however, the increased program costs were borne disproportionately by the federal government.

Alzheimer’s disease—a progressive and fatal condition in which cells in certain parts of the brain are destroyed—creates severe problems in memory, judgment, ability to organize simple tasks and even speech. The most common form of irreversible dementia, the condition has no cure or even disease-modifying treatment. An estimated 5.3 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease in 2015. Age is the single greatest risk factor for the disease. One in nine people 65 and older (11 percent) have Alzheimer’s.

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