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This Week In Public Health: Older Americans And Opioid Addiction; CA GOP Pushes Dental Care For Poor

Heidi de Marco/Kaiser Health News
Evard receives acupuncture treatment for his hearing loss as part of his stay at the Las Vegas Recovery Center in Las Vegas.

This week - Opioid addiction isn't just a young person problem. ... Not smoking pot around your kids is a no-brainer, right? Not for some. ... A Jeopardy! winner with terminal cancer wins big and donates it to charity. ... These and more ...

For Older Americans, Opioid Addiction Is A Problem, Too

It took a lot of convincing for John Evard, 70, to go to rehab. After a doctor prescribed opioids, including Oxycontin, following ear surgery, Evard became dependent on them. "He couldn’t think of anything except the pills and when he could have the next one. He knew he was in trouble — despite having taken them exactly as his doctor instructed." For Kaiser Health News, Jenny Gold reports that even following a doctor's orders isn't sometimes enough to keep them from becoming dependent.

More Children In Rural Areas Are Born Dependent On Drugs

Jill Sheridan of WFYI reports new research suggests up to 21 percent of newborns are born with drug withdrawl In Indiana, the problem may be compounded by a lack of obstetrics units in rural hospitals.

No Duh: Parenting And Pot Smoking Don't Mix

"I have never smoked and would never smoke around my child," says one mother who lives in San Francisco. But that's not true for everyone. As Jane Greenhalgh reports for NPR, there are clues -- and a small study -- that suggest the secondhand marijuana smoke could have negative health affects on children, particularly in places where weed is legal for recreational use.

Quick Hits

A terminal cancer patient won $103,000 on Jeopardy! ... And she's donating it to help fight the disease.

About a dozen mental health clinics in Missouri will get new federal money to boost care and collect data on what treatments work best.

A theater troupe in Massachusetts is taking to the stage to get teens to talk about addiction.

California Republicans are proposing $200 million to help improve the state's Denti-Cal program for kids by improving what it pays dentists.

Drug wholesalers made millions by sending 780 million painkilling opioid pills to West Virginia over 6 years. That's more than 400 pills per person living there. Elsewhere, there's also growing evidence that as the U.S. cracks down on painkiller prescriptions here, they're sending the drugs overseas seeking new customers.