The Department of Health and Human Services has spent at least $40 million in the past two months to detain and attempt to reunite migrant children separated from their families under the Trump administration’s family separation policy. These funds are being drained from existing HHS programs, including funds designated to address public health emergencies. An analysis by the Associated Press finds that detaining immigrant children has “morphed into a surging industry in the US that now reaps $1 billion annually – a tenfold increase over the past decade.” Immigrant communities in the US are grappling with trauma and stress in the wake of aggressive immigration enforcement. PEW reports that following ICE raids in Baltimore, several members of the immigrant community committed suicide. Researchers at Johns Hopkins, who have been working with the community, observe that “stress and depression in the immigrant community have always been there, but it is heightened now… I see more children being very distressed about the possibility that a parent will be deported.” Students have reported feeling stressed because of stepped-up immigration enforcement and bullying in school […]. The school district also is gearing up, together with the Johns Hopkins researchers, to gather more information in the fall about immigrant students and what other services they might need.
A new study released by the Boston University School of Public Health links gun violence deaths and residential segregation by race. “The study, published in the Journal of the National Medical Association, finds states with greater residential segregation of black and white populations have higher racial disparities in firearm homicide fatalities. The study is one of the first to examine the relationship between racial residential segregation and firearm homicide fatalities at a state level over a 25-year period, and controlled for multiple race-specific measures of deprivation in education, employment, economic status, and housing.”
A new study finds that real estate agents present people of color with housing in options that face more environmental hazards than the options presented to white buyers of similar financial means: “We find that holding locational preferences or income constant, discriminatory steering alone may contribute substantially to the disproportionate number of minority households found in high poverty neighborhoods in the United States,” the authors explain. “The steering effect is also large enough to fully explain the differential in proximity to Superfund sites among African American mothers.”
This week, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors approved adding a measure to the November 2018 ballot that would fund a Safe, Clean Water Program for the county. If approved by voters, the ballot measure would implement a 2.5-cents per square foot parcel tax within the Los Angeles County Flood Control District to fund infrastructure projects that would make water supplies safer and more reliable; reduce polluted water runoff in streets, rivers, and at beaches; create more greenspace in neighborhoods; and generate jobs and career pathways.
TalkingPointsMemo reports on how work requirements are affecting Arkansas Medicaid recipients: “In a state with the second-worst rate of home internet access in the country, the state’s rules now require Medicaid beneficiaries to submit proof online that they had worked at least 80 hours per month. In the first phase of implementation, just for residents ages 30-49 who don’t have an exemption, more than 7,000 residents failed to meet the deadline. If they are unable to meet the requirement for two more months, they will lose coverage for the rest of the year. But the GOP-controlled state government does not appear concerned. The spokesperson for Arkansas’ Human Services Department told local reporters that when it comes to people who depend on Medicaid, “at some point they do have to take some action to keep their coverage.”’
The Trump administration shuttered the National Guideline Clearinghouse, an online database of healthcare best practices used by doctors. Vox reports that “About 200,000 people visited guideline.gov every month, according to the Council of Medical Specialty Societies, which sent the administration a letter in June urging them to find some alternative course to shutting down the website entirely. […] The value of the clearinghouse was that it put guidelines through a vetting process, allowing doctors to have more faith in their objectivity, and that it put all of them in one place rather than forcing doctors to scrounge through various academic journals and websites.”
The Los Angeles Times reported this week on a spike in calls to California poison control centers concerning children consuming marijuana ‘edibles.’ Nearly half of last year’s calls involved children under the age of five.
The Trump administration’s public health emergency declaration on opioids, last renewed in April, must be renewed next week. Policymakers and public health agencies are still calling on the administration to do more to address the opioid epidemic. Vox reports: “In the months after, Trump’s response has dwindled. Since Trump’s opioid commission released a final series of recommendations that largely focused on treating the crisis as a public health issue, Trump has adopted only around a handful of dozens of proposals. And the administration’s other moves have done little to significantly boost addiction treatment resources. Meanwhile, Trump announced a plan in March that, despite vague mentions more treatment and fewer opioid prescriptions, focused almost entirely in substance and rhetoric on using the death penalty on drug traffickers. The “tough on crime” approach, experts argue, is not in any way effective, given the recent track record of the war on drugs in preventing or slowing the current opioid crisis — but it seems to be what Trump favors.” Meanwhile, health officials are seeing a spike in overdoses due to multiple drugs, including cocaine and marijuana laced with synthetic opioids.