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This Week In Public Health: The Surgeon General Wants To Help America Face Addiction

Tanjila Ahmed/via Flickr

This week - The surgeon general wants to help America face up to its addiction problem. Can a late-night taco and a chat with their friendly neighborhood paramedic help bridge the gap for people with mental illnesses? ... Food policy under a President Trump ... These and more ...

Could Legalized Pot Open The Door To More Smokers?

With the passage of Prop. 64 in California, some public health advocates worry the "renormalization" of smoking could mean more tobacco use too. Despite a new $2 per pack tax there, some worry that if it's viewed as OK to smoke weed, it may start to be OK to smoke tobacco too. For California Healthline, Anna Gorman reports.

America, Face Up To Addiction, Surgeon General Says

It's not just opioids that Americans are addicted to, according to a broad new report released this week by Dr. Vivek Murthy, the U.S. surgeon general. Among the findings: "More people use prescription opioids than use tobacco. There are more people with substance abuse disorders than people with cancer. One in five Americans binge drink. And substance abuse disorders cost the U.S. more than $420 billion a year." NPR's Steve Inskeep spoke with the Surgeon General about the new report -- and what can be done

Plugging The Mental Health Care Gaps With Tacos

In Modesto, Calif., some community paramedics are trained to show up to an emergency with a potential mental health crisis, identify the problem, intervene and de-escalate. "One of the patients we see on a regular basis. ... I buy him a taco, no big deal, and I remind him to take his meds.” For Kaiser Health News, Shefali Luthra reports that interaction can sometimes keep people out of the ER, and on the path to better health.

Quick Hits

A look at food policy (and potential changes) under a President Trump.

How New York hunts for early signs of disease outbreaks.

Americans are sicker and have more trouble affording health care than people in 10 other high-income nations.

Finally, what you eat matters. We all know this. But eating right could help you ward off the flu -- or at least make it more tolerable.