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This Week: Ban On Herbal Painkiller Could Hurt Research ... What's That New Zika Money Really Mean?

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ThorPorre/via WikiMedia Commons
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This week - You would be forgiven if you forgot your end-of-life paperwork in an emergency, soon NY'ers might not have to remember it. ... First responders struggle to keep up with opioid overdoses in Ohio. ... That new Zika money that Congress finally passed, what will it go to? ... And, take a deep breath, stress could undo all that healthy eating. ... These and more ...

A Ban On An Herbal Painkiller Could Be Here Soon, Here's Why
Kratom, an herb sometimes used by recovering opioid drug addicts as an alternative painkiller, could soon join heroin and LSD on a list of banned drugs in the U.S. Some officials say the substance poses an "immediate hazard" to public health, but advocates say it's a lifeline to kicking their opioid habit and managing pain. Side Effects' Rebecca Smith has the story. (Photo by ThorPorre/via WikiMedia Commons)

A Drug Meant To Sedate Elephants Is Devastating Ohio 
In Ohio, a new drug, carfentanil — 100 times more potent than fentanyl — may be to blame for a rash of new overdoses. Even with death as a possible side effect, police say some drug users have travelled to Cincinnati in search of a better high. The surge of overdoses is straining first responders and drug labs dealing with the problem.  For Side Effects, Jake Harper spent some time with police, EMTs and scientists overwhelmed by the exploding public health crisis.

N.Y. Is Trying To Digitize End-Of-Life Instructions
Most Americans don’t plan ahead for end of life. But for those who do, there’s a risk that the right people won’t even see documents when it really matters.  Advocates and lawmakers in New York are trying to change that with mandatory digitization of their MOLST form. But but obstacles lay ahead. For Side Effects, Karen Shakerdge reports that technology is standing in their way ... for now.

Congress Approved $1.1 Billion For Fighting Zika, So What'll It Go To?
"The funding consists of two pots: one, totaling almost $935 million, for efforts curbing Zika’s spread at home; and another, for about $175 million, targeting it abroad," reports Kaiser Health News' Shefali Luthra. But, even thought many say more money would have been better -- President Obama wanted $1.9 billion -- public health officials say this is a good start.

Quick Hits
Calif. Gov. Jerry Brown signed into law a measure that will require doctors check for drug-seeking behavior in a database before prescribing opioids.

A new program in Louisville, Ky., aims to connect drug addicts being released from jail with treatment. In a city that releases 400 people from jail every month who are in active detox, there's hope it will change things.

Take it easy. There's new research that says stress could undo all that healthy eating you're doing.

Tears or sweat are likely the culprit behind the first case of Zika transmission through casual physical contact.

Finally, a huge garbage fire in Pennsylvania that's been burning for 50 years could hold clues to developing new antibiotics.