New York Health Act could help reduce overdoses

first_imgCategories: Editorial, OpinionLast month, President Donald Trump’s bipartisan commission on opioid abuse released its long-awaited report on the crisis, and requested Congress provide funding to implement its recommendations.President Trump even called the opioid epidemic a public health emergency. This declaration is years overdue.A total of 64,000 Americans died as a result of drug overdoses last year — up from 52,400 the previous year.The most recent estimates indicate that our state saw 3,650 fatal overdoses in 2016, 29 of which took place in Schenectady County.These are depressing statistics amidst a tragic story with no end in sight. This would be paid for via a small tax hike that would replace the need for costly premiums and other health care expenses.What is medically necessary would be up to patients and doctors – not private insurance or the size of your wallet. This is a complex situation, and there is no silver bullet. Sometimes opioids are needed, and sometimes alternatives are more appropriate.What’s medically necessary is ultimately a question for patients and doctors.The Legislature should remove the profit motives of insurance companies from the equation – by regulation or by providing comprehensive public health insurance for all New Yorkers.Steve Keller is a regular contributor to the Sunday Opinion section. He works as an unpaid volunteer with the Campaign for New York Health, which is advocating for this bill’s passage.More from The Daily Gazette:EDITORIAL: Thruway tax unfair to working motoristsEDITORIAL: Beware of voter intimidationEDITORIAL: Urgent: Today is the last day to complete the censusEDITORIAL: Find a way to get family members into nursing homesFoss: Should main downtown branch of the Schenectady County Public Library reopen? Governor Andrew Cuomo signed a bill last year that removed many of the barriers preventing or delaying individuals from getting addiction treatment or overdose-reversing drugs that save lives.Now it’s time to go further.The Legislature should require insurance companies to automatically cover a wider range of non-opioid pain treatments — no questions asked. There is, of course, one snag.Access is great, but there’s still an economic barrier: If patients can’t afford exorbitant deductibles, co-pays and out-of-pocket payments, the cheaper and more dangerous opioid option might still be the only choice.We can remedy this by passing the New York Health Act in the new year.This bill, which has already passed the Assembly, would set up a public health insurance system similar to Medicare for All, under which treatment would simply be provided if you need it. So how did we get here? Most experts agree the current epidemic began in the 1990s, when pharmaceutical companies increasingly marketed opioids for pain relief, and doctors became more willing to prescribe them.Now, an astounding 289 million opioid prescriptions are issued each year. Of course, these prescriptions are not exclusively used by those for whom they’re written.The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) states that while about a quarter of people abusing opioids use their own medication, half acquire the drugs from someone they know. Regardless of who is ultimately getting the opioids, when the prescription runs out, some percentage of people are left with an addiction.Rather than getting a new script from a doctor, it can be easier and cheaper to turn to illegal drugs, including heroin.center_img Sometimes, insurance companies add unnecessary complication — or even block the best treatment altogether. In September, The New York Times and ProPublica published a piece revealing how health insurance companies often encourage prescription of dangerous opioids over safer, albeit more expensive, alternatives.Instead of immediately paying for safer drugs, they require prior authorization, barely recompense plan holders or don’t cover alternatives at all.Some insurance companies even require patients to go through the more dangerous drugs before they get to the non-opioids – just because the dangerous ones are cheap. This means that when patients need pain medication urgently, it can be easier to go straight to opioids. None of this is surprising.Insurance companies have a single mission, and it’s not to provide the best care – it’s to take in as much money and pay out as little in benefits as possible. Good for you if your insurer says they’ll pay for the safer but more expensive drugs your doctor recommends. But if your insurer is cheap, it’ll be opioids or nothing — unless you want to put your life-altering pain aside, hold off on medication and try to shop around for a better insurance company.Though the president’s commission has identified these insurance practices as part of the opioid problem, New York shouldn’t wait on the federal government to do something about it. When street dealers add in extremely toxic compounds like fentanyl, it makes an already dangerous situation even more addictive and even more deadly.This, experts say, is the root of the current crisis: proliferation of legal drugs acting as a gateway to harder, more dangerous ones.Clearly, in combination with increased access to treatment and rehabilitation, we must curb prescription of unnecessary opioids as much as possible. Yes, there will obviously always be a need for pain treatment.But sometimes opioids are more than is necessary — or they’re simply ineffective. In such cases, it’s better to seek alternatives like buprenorphine (a safer opioid), lidocaine, acetaminophen/ibuprofen combinations or even physical therapy. It’s a multifaceted decision that’s different for each person. Doctors and patients need to have serious conversations about the appropriate treatments for each individual’s pain. But it’s not always that simple.last_img read more

Mount Warren Park home has ideal design for family

first_imgThe home at 3 Leanne Court, Mount Warren Park.“I’ve lived in the area for almost my whole life and I can’t fault it.“We’ve made some really amazing memories in the house — I think I’ll miss that the most.”The property is a short walk to nearby schools, kindergartens and shops. It is also close to sports fields, gyms and Mount Warren Park Golf Club. The home at 3 Leanne Court, Mount Warren Park.“I really love the outdoor area and the deck — we get really great views from the deck.“We’ve also got a really large yard so our kids can go nuts, particularly when we’re entertaining, and there is heaps of room for everyone.”The home has a large functional kitchen with dishwasher and plenty of bench and cupboard space.There is a dining room, sunken lounge room and a sunken family room that flow out to the balcony with views over the district to Stradbroke Island.More from newsCrowd expected as mega estate goes under the hammer7 Aug 2020Hard work, resourcefulness and $17k bring old Ipswich home back to life20 Apr 2020The master bedroom includes an ensuite and the three remaining bedrooms have built-in robes. The home at 3 Leanne Court, Mount Warren Park.Downstairs, there is a rumpus room, with plenty of space for the pool table, opening to the covered entertaining area.The home is on a 906sq m block with fully-fenced backyard, two driveways, a carport and extra parking space.Ms Stone said the home was in a quiet cul-de-sac.“We have some really friendly neighbours,” she said.center_img The home at 3 Leanne Court, Mount Warren Park.AN UPDATED split-level home, suited to a family that likes to entertain, is on the market in Mount Warren Park.Owners Elisha and John Stone bought the property at 3 Leanne Court about nine years ago and shaped it into the perfect family home for them and their three children.“We did the outdoor area, the rumpus room and lots of gardening and landscaping,” Ms Stone said.last_img read more

Good Luck, Local Athletes

first_imgWhen you read this article, we will know how the Oldenburg Academy Ladies Tennis Team did at the semi-state.  However, I want to congratulate Coach Wilder and his Lady Twisters on their sectional and regional wins.I also want to wish good luck to 3 local athletes who have a great chance to place very high in the state track meet occurring today.  They are Mark Bertke of East Central who vaulted 14 ft. 6 in. last week in the regional.  Secondly, Curtis Eckstein of Oldenburg Academy who is ranked in the top 5 in the 3200m run.  Curt will be trying to become a 2-time state champ after his cross country win last fall.  The 3rd athlete is Batesville’s Garrett Wagner who is one of the state’s best 300m hurdlers.  Garrett finished 2nd at the regional last week in this event.Tomorrow the girls state track meet will be held, and there are a few local athletes who will be competing.  None of them are ranked, but we wish them the best of luck as well.last_img read more

‘Greensburg Power of the Past’ announcer dies

first_imgGreensburg, In. — Organizers from Greensburg Power of the Past tell WRBI News long-time announcer and supporter Daniel Wilson has passed away. For many years Wilson was the voice of the parade and other activities during the annual event.Wilson was a 1959 graduate of Batesville High School, 1963 from Purdue University and farmed for most of his life. He worked at the Narwold Dairy Farm, served as manager Lowe’s Pellet and Grain and was the County Executive Director at the Decatur County FSA.Funeral services will be held at the Smyrna Lutheran Church in Greensburg.last_img

Time to look forward – O’Shea

first_img He told the Sunderland Echo: “That was obviously done. But we have to move on now. “Because of the position we are in in the league, we can’t keep going back to it. We have got some difficult months ahead. “Whoever comes in, whether it’s Bally [interim head coach Kevin Ball] or a new manager, we have got tough times ahead. “We have to stick together and if we keep going back to it, it will soon be too hard to pull back from where we are.” Sunderland turned in a much-improved display in Sunday’s 3-1 home defeat by Liverpool, but the fact remains that they have now collected just one point from a possible 18 and with Manchester United due to arrive on Wearside on Saturday intent on addressing their own losing streak, things could yet get worse before they get better. The Black Cats are continuing to evaluate a series of potential candidates for the vacancy created by Di Canio’s sacking, with Gus Poyet, Rene Meulensteen and senior professional development coach Ball, who has indicated his own interest in filling the role on a permanent basis, figuring prominently in the betting. However, chief executive Margaret Byrne has revealed that discussions with several contenders have already taken place and talks with others will be held this week, and it appears an appointment is not imminent. That could mean Ball takes charge of Saturday evening’s game against United, and an extended role for the former Black Cats midfielder would go down well with the players. More than a week after the collapse of the relationship between the 45-year-old Italian and his players prompted owner Ellis Short to act, the Black Cats remain managerless and rooted to the foot of the Barclays Premier League table. However, while confirming that the dressing room had played a part in Di Canio’s demise, O’Shea has insisted the players must re-group to prevent the club from being cast adrift. Press Association Sunderland skipper John O’Shea has ordered his team-mates to draw a line under their fall-out with Paolo Di Canio and dig themselves out of trouble. O’Shea said: “Without a doubt, he’s made an impact. If it does happen, the players would be very happy. “But we will wait and see what the club decides.” Ball launched his spell in charge with a 2-0 Capital One Cup victory over Peterborough on Tuesday evening, but was unable to repeat the feat against sterner opposition on Sunday. Sunderland played a full part in the game, but were ultimately undone by the brilliance of the returning Luis Suarez and strike-partner Daniel Sturridge. The latter gave Liverpool a 28th-minute lead when he bundled Steven Gerrard’s corner home with his arm, and then set up the Uruguay international to score his first goal for the club since April with a perfectly-weighted cross eight minutes before the break. However, the Black Cats’ response was hugely creditable and they got themselves back into the game within seven minutes of the restart when Emanuele Giaccherini struck from close range after goalkeeper Simon Mignolet could only parry Ki Sung-yueng’s shot from distance. But the Reds held firm in the face of a concerted assault and secured their win with a minute remaining when Suarez and Sturridge combined superbly before the South American claimed his second of the game. Ball was disappointed by the result, but hugely encouraged by the performance of his players in front of the watching Short. He said: “That’s something that whenever you come away from the Stadium of Light, no matter who is in charge, whatever the club, we have always got to see that. “That’s something that I would drum into the players in future, we must see that all the time. “People must go away from here, irrespective of what happens, and away from home as well knowing full well that their team has put in a shift, and today, they can say that.” last_img read more

Chelsea turn attentions to Nantes defender Djilobodji, according to reports

first_img Press Association The Premier League champions have conceded nine goals in four games in accruing four points to sit eight adrift of leaders Manchester City. Chelsea’s pursuit of John Stones has been repelled by Everton and reports in the French media say a euros three million (£2.2million) deal for Djilobodji is near completion. It is less than 10 per cent of the sum offered for Stones. The 27-year-old Djilobodji has one year remaining on his contract with Nantes and is flying to London for a medical, according to reports in France. Djilobodji has reportedly been linked with Celtic and Trabzonspor in Turkey, who had a euros 2m offer rejected in the last few days. His likely switch to Jose Mourinho’s Chelsea is unexpected. The Blues have signed goalkeeper Asmir Begovic, left-back Baba Rahman and striker Radamel Falcao on loan from Monaco – all like-for-like replacements for the departed Petr Cech, Filipe Luis and Didier Drogba. Pedro was added from Barcelona, boosting morale and the performance in a win at West Brom before Saturday’s loss to Crystal Palace. Rumoured interest in Paul Pogba of Juventus refuses to subside, but it would take an astronomical fee to land the Frenchman, and Chelsea will require a U-turn from Everton to return for Stones. Mourinho insisted Chelsea would not panic in the closing hours of the transfer window. And Djilobodji may represent little more than a fall-back option as his pedigree is not quite at the standard Mourinho would wish for. Chelsea announced on Monday night that 18-year-old academy player Jeremie Boga had joined Rennes on a season-long loan. center_img Chelsea are bidding to solve their defensive troubles with Senegal defender Papy Djilobodji as a switch from Nantes nears completion. last_img read more

Manchester United v Manchester City talking points

first_imgThe 170th Manchester derby takes place at Old Trafford on Sunday. Press Association Kompany has not started a game for City since he went against his manager’s wishes by playing for Belgium in their Euro 2016 qualifier versus Israel while carrying a calf injury. At his pre-match press conference, Pellegrini would not reveal whether he would start the defender against United, but form suggests he would be foolish not to do so. The Chilean has praised Nicolas Otamendi and Eliaquim Mangala for their performances in Kompany’s absence, but the facts suggest City are stronger with their captain in the side. City kept five successive clean sheets with Kompany in the team at the start of the season. They have not kept one without him in the side. WILL WILFRIED BONY SEIZE HIS CHANCE TO SHINE? With Sergio Aguero sidelined by a hamstring injury, the onus will fall on Bony to lead the line for City. The Ivorian has failed to live up to expectations since his £28million move from Swansea, mainly because he has not had a proper run in the side. Aguero has scored six goals in his last five appearances against United, so Bony has a lot to live up to on his Manchester derby debut. Unlike Aguero, he struggles to keep up with the likes of Kevin De Bruyne, Jesus Navas and Raheem Sterling when City are on the attack, and his only league goals so far this season have come against Bournemouth. WHO WILL COME OUT ON TOP IN THE BATTLE OF THE BIG BUYS? If you take into account all the add-ons involved in the Anthony Martial deal, United and City paid a combined total of £112million for the French striker and Kevin De Bruyne in the last transfer window. That is an incredible amount of money, but in fairness to both players, they have so far lived up to the hype. Martial scored on debut and took his tally to five goals in nine games with his equaliser at CSKA Moscow on Wednesday. De Bruyne was also on target on Wednesday, scoring an injury-time winner for City against Sevilla. The Belgian has also scored five in his opening nine matches. HOW MUCH WILL UNITED’S PREPARATIONS HAVE BEEN AFFECTED BY THEIR TRIP TO MOSCOW? Louis van Gaal said City have the advantage over United because they did not have to make an eight-hour round trip to Moscow in midweek. The United boss tried to help his players recover by staying an extra night in Moscow after the Group B match, which was played in sub-zero temperatures, but City are bound to be fresher after their home game in midweek. WILL WAYNE ROONEY MARK HIS FIRST WEEKEND AS A THIRTYSOMETHING WITH A GOAL? Rooney turns 30 on the eve of the game. That landmark usually signals the start of a player’s decline, but Rooney insists he has many years left in the game. The United captain looked sharp at Everton, where he scored the final goal in a 3-0 win last weekend, but cut a frustrated figure in the Khimki Arena. In the first half, only David de Gea touched the ball fewer times than the United forward. It is worth noting that Rooney has scored a record 11 goals in this fixture, however. center_img Here, Press Association Sport looks at five talking points ahead of United’s meeting with City. WILL MANUEL PELLEGRINI BRING VINCENT KOMPANY IN FROM THE COLD? last_img read more

Trump delays new tariffs on China, talks resume amid trade war

first_imgFriday evening, Trump made a post via Twitter inviting North Korean Leader Kim Jong-Un to meet with him in South Korea to say “Hello.” After some very important meetings, including my meeting with President Xi of China, I will be leaving Japan for South Korea (with President Moon). While there, if Chairman Kim of North Korea sees this, I would meet him at the Border/DMZ just to shake his hand and say Hello(?)!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 28, 2019 President Trump has agreed to hold off on new tariffs against China and restart trade negotiations on Saturday following a meeting with the country’s leader, Xi Jinping, during a G20 Summit in Japan.Trump said in a news conference Saturday that he would scale back restrictions on the Chinese telecom company Huawei and delay slapping new tariffs on Chinese goods as talks resume between the two countries.“U.S. companies can sell their equipment to Huawei,” Trump said.He went on to explain that the move was aimed to help American tech companies that had complained about the ban.The company is reportedly on an “entity list” that essentially prohibits it from buying components from American firms without approval from the U.S. government.Trump said China, in turn, had agreed to resume large purchases of American farm products and other goods from U.S. companies but did not go into further detail.The Trump administration will reportedly keep in place the 25 percent tariffs previously put on almost half of China’s annual exports to the U.S.President Trump’s announcement comes in the wake of the ongoing trade war between the U.S. and China.The Trump administration still insists that the new trade deal with China must address intellectual property theft protections, enforcement mechanisms, and tariffs.Trump is expected to leave for South Korea on Saturday.He posted a video discussing the 2019 G20 Summit via Twitter.Thank you #G20OsakaSummit pic.twitter.com/9FCqSuR5Bp— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) June 29, 2019last_img read more

REVIEW: ‘Betonrausch’ aims high, but doesn’t rise to the standard

first_img“Rising High” is a dramatized white-collar crime film that tells the story of Viktor (David Kross), a young realtor whose personality turned out to be extremely bland — but that doesn’t even make a difference given the dull course of the film. Through flashbacks, the film reveals that Viktor’s desire to ascend the corporate social ladder comes from his early childhood, when he saw his hardworking and devoted father (Robert Schupp) financially struggle.  “Sex, drugs and rock ‘n’ roll.” That’s the lifestyle the latest Netflix film “Betonrausch” (“Rising High” in English), attempts to emulate. The German production, directed by Cüneyt Kaya, can be considered a weaker version of “The Wolf of Wall Street,” only on a different continent and with much less impact.  Despite its name, “Betonrausch” doesn’t provide much adrenaline nor excitement; it doesn’t build up to any tension, and the viewer is most likely to predict the end. It’s a classic case of “been there, done that.” But not only was it cliche, it simply wasn’t convincing enough. With that, it is clear that the movie is, overall, savorless. The plot has potential, but it is also somewhat predictable. The failed attempt to add a bit of comedy to it is almost pathetic. The obvious way in which Viktor enjoys his life when he rises to the top — with a beautiful mansion, parties full of drugs, an expensive car and bags full of dollar bills — is also disappointing. Because Viktor doesn’t have the means to achieve immediate popularity and wealth, he begins by pretending he does — after all, who would doubt a man with copious amounts of gel in his hair smiling in a nicely tailored suit? He partners up with Gerry (Frederick Lau), a low-life and somewhat of a grumpy man. The two begin their real estate business after purchasing a luxury complex building with money they don’t even have, with the help of mortgage broker Nicole (Janaina Uhse), who Viktor marries later on.   Their plan consists of scamming people into bankruptcy by giving them fake bank loans to buy properties when the payments are actually going to Viktor and Gerry. After the first successful attempt, things escalate quickly. Between a repetitive amount of party scenes and bureaucratic meetings, the setbacks of the scams were also weak. To illustrate, at one point Viktor had to create his own bank in a foreign country because he couldn’t enlist the help of the German ones anymore — problem solved, just like that.  “Betonrausch” is actually an engaging film and easy to watch, and the seductiveness of the wealthy lifestyle is also appealing.  But we have seen it all before. It is supposed to be one of those movies that viewers root for the antiheroes in the white collars, even when they are scammers; viewers like to watch the crooks’ extravagant and luxurious lives, carried by their arrogant personas, but that doesn’t happen in this case. center_img Yet, there is one personality twist toward the end that is slightly more authentic, in which Viktor genuinely makes an effort to reconnect with his now ex-wife and daughter, whom he has had almost no contact with. That glimpse of improvement, however, doesn’t hold up. After his emotional family reunion, it’s not certain whether or not he will return to a criminal life — but that is made clear in the end. The fraudulent scams were generally well planned, but that’s to credit the writers and producers. However, it seems that most of the writers’ efforts went into developing these crimes and not the characters’ personalities. In the end, this imbalanced writing failed to create a truly convincing story. It is hard to believe that Viktor, a tame blonde with no real guts, could effectively convince so many individuals and even entire firms into signing million-dollar contracts, as clueless as they could have been.  Predictably, however, he doesn’t get away with it. The movie is nonlinear and contains three main time frames: the time of the scams, the flashbacks to Viktor’s childhood and his time in prison, where he tells the whole story to a journalist. Even in prison, he doesn’t express any remorse about his crimes — tax evasion, money laundering, fraud — and he explicitly says so. The problem is that it is really hard to buy his maliciousness; it is simply not convincing.  Themes of extreme wealth, drugs, prostitution and great ambition are present throughout the entire movie. Pulsating neon lights at parties, a constant flow of champagne, high-end suits — everything is there, but the script supporting it failed to consider character depth and development.  Netflix’s newly released German drama chronicles the rapid success and ultimate downfall of corrupt real estate moguls. (Photo courtesy of IMDb)last_img read more

Butler: A story like no other

first_imgBecca Birckhead, right, hands out free Butler signs and t-shirts before a viewing party for the team\’s national semi-final matchup with Michigan State on Saturday, April 3, 2010, at Hinkle Fieldhouse in Indianapolis.[/media-credit]INDIANAPOLIS — Hollywood wishes they had come up with a story like this.Back home again in Indiana, just a deep 3-pointer away from their own campus, the Bulldogs found a way to shock the college basketball world once again Saturday.The game might not have been pretty. In fact, it was undeniably ugly. But Butler is now less than 48 hours away from playing for a national championship, and those words are the most beautiful ones in the English language if you are pulling for the blue and white this weekend.After all, what kind of cinematic ending would it have been if the underdogs came up short?No worries, because the Bulldogs moved one step closer to becoming basketball’s unlikeliest national champion since… well, ever.All they had to do was knock off Michigan State, a fellow fifth-seeder and a pint-sized Goliath in comparison to the giants already slain this tournament.Behind Gordon Hayward and Shelvin Mack, the hometown heroes knocked off the Spartans, 52-50, in a battle that was as aesthetically pleasing as Butler big man Matt Howard’s mustache.The winning team shot just 30.6 percent from the field and scored just one field goal in the final eight minutes.Nevertheless, the Bulldogs found a way, defeating a team that has been in six of the last 12 Final Fours and cementing themselves in Indiana basketball history.While the Hoosiers rebuild in Bloomington and the Boilermakers continue to come up agonizingly short in West Lafayette, the Bulldogs have emerged as the state’s prime source of hoops pride. It helps that this baby-faced, pass-first team is more Indiana than corn, John Mellencamp and Bob Knight’s sweater combined.The ongoing comparisons to “Hoosiers” are making even the most ignorant sports fan nauseous at this point, but you can’t help but appreciate a good storyline.Who could have imagined that a team from the Horizon League – I mean the Horizon League! – would be just one win away from being declared the finest college basketball team in all of the land?Not Brad Stevens. As much as Butler’s coach would like to tell you he believed the Bulldogs would be in this position, even he couldn’t muster that claim.In the team’s first meeting of the year this past fall, Stevens walked in front of his players and told them if they focused and did their jobs they could play for a national championship.Sounds easy enough, right?It was a bold statement, one that his players likely chalked up to coach speak, but one that turned out to be truer than he ever imagined. Stevens confessed Saturday that although he said it, he might not have necessarily believed it.“Maybe they didn’t all believe me, too,” he said. “But enough of them did that we’re here.”After losing to LSU in the first round of the tournament last year, Stevens told his players that trying wasn’t good enough. Anyone satisfied with just making the tournament wasn’t on the same page as their head coach.But the players got the message this year and took it to heart. As Hayward answered questions in a post-game press conference, he talked about believing in his team from the start. He talked about staying focused even when the other team makes a run. And he talked about just going out there and doing a job.His head coach, sitting just two feet to his right, nodded after every word.The two believed in one another and look where it got them.Now, the city of Indianapolis is about to explode with anticipation for Monday night’s game. The Bulldogs are just one win away from a national championship, a goal they’ve believed in from the start.“The whole year we’ve talked about the next game,” Hayward said. “So that’s what we’re focused on.“We’re just excited the next game is playing for a national championship.”Beat that, Hollywood.A team of Indiana University journalists is reporting for the Final Four Student News Bureau, a project between IU’s National Sports Journalism Center and the NCAA at the men’s tournament in Indianapolis.last_img read more