A growing number of states are allowing people convicted of drug crimes to qualify for welfare and food stamps, according to The Wall Street Journal. Alabama and Texas lifted restrictions on food stamps for ex-offenders this year. California and Missouri eliminated their bans last year.
Alabama also allows former drug offenders who submit to drug testing to receive welfare, the article notes.
A 1996 federal law disqualifies people convicted of state and federal drug offenses from receiving benefits, but allows states to make exceptions.
Drug offenders are eligible for the federal welfare program known as Temporary Assistance for Needy Families in 12 states. Almost two dozen states allow ex-offenders to participate in the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program.
Full story of lift on ban of benefits for people with drug convictions at drugfree.org
Presidential candidates from both parties are discussing drug abuse on the campaign trail, the Burlington Free Press reports.
Hillary Clinton began bringing up the issue of heroin after she was questioned about it at a meeting in New Hampshire. She sought out the advice of Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin, who dedicated his 2014 State of the State address to the heroin epidemic.
After speaking with Shumlin, Clinton unveiled a $10 billion plan designed to tackle substance abuse and addiction over the next decade. Clinton said her plan was inspired by Vermont’s focus on treatment instead of incarceration, and the state’s expansion of the anti-overdose drug naloxone.
Full story of Presidential candidates talk drug abuse at drugfree.org
CVS announced it will add 12 states to its program to sell the opioid overdose antidote naloxone without a prescription, bringing the total to 14. The company already sells naloxone without a prescription in Massachusetts and Rhode Island.
“Over 44,000 people die from accidental drug overdoses every year in the United States and most of those deaths are from opioids, including controlled substance pain medication and illegal drugs such as heroin,” Tom Davis, Vice President of Pharmacy Professional Practices at CVS, said in a statement. “Naloxone is a safe and effective antidote to opioid overdoses and by providing access to this medication in our pharmacies without a prescription in more states, we can help save lives.”
The states included in Wednesday’s announcement are Arkansas, California, Minnesota, Mississippi, Montana, New Jersey, North Dakota, Pennsylvania, South Carolina, Tennessee, Utah and Wisconsin. According to The Huffington Post, pharmacy boards in these states can make decisions about offering naloxone without a prescription.
Full story of CVS to sell Naloxone without prescription at drugfree.org
The National Institute on Alcoholism and Alcohol Abuse has introduced a new tool to help colleges cut down on student drinking, CNN reports. CollegeAIM includes 60 alcohol interventions, with information on their effectiveness, costs and barriers to implementation.
The guide includes a wide variety of interventions, from requiring Friday morning classes to restricting happy hours and other drinking promotions.
“Despite our collective efforts to address it, high-risk drinking remains a significant and persistent problem on U.S. campuses,” George Koob, Ph.D., NIAAA Director, said in a news release. “While college officials have numerous options for alcohol interventions, they are not all equally effective. CollegeAIM can help schools choose wisely among available strategies, boosting their chances for success and helping them improve the health and safety of their students.”
Full story on resource to help college kids curb drinking at drugfree.org
Many doctors are avoiding recommending medical marijuana to their patients, according to Boston.com. Some feel they don’t know enough about its effectiveness, or are worried about liability and lawsuits.
In Massachusetts, most doctors are not approved to certify residents as medical marijuana patients, the article notes. Patients must be certified by a doctor in order to receive legal marijuana from one of the state’s two dispensaries. Currently there are only 108 certified doctors in the state.
Prescribing medical marijuana has become a niche business for some clinics. “Those clinics are not set up to deal with a specific medical disease,” said Dr. Dennis Dimitri, President of the Massachusetts Medical Society. “They’re set up to prescribe a drug. And I cannot think of other examples of physicians who have a clinic whose only purpose is to prescribe a specific medication or drug.” He added, “I think at this point, for many physicians, they feel like the jury is still out on medical marijuana.”
Full story of doctors recommending medical marijuana at drugfree.org