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This Week In Public Health: Flu Shots Might Not Work As Well This Year ... Depression In Teen Girls

Photo by Andrew Miller/via Flickr

This week - Needles might not sound like the best way to reduce opioid use, but Vermont hopes properly placed acupuncture can provide an alternative to pills to manage chronic pain. ... Another big insurer is removing a major barrier for people seeking addiction treatment. ... Sniff. Your flu vaccine might not work as well this year. ... Read on ...

Vermont Hopes Acupuncture Can Reduce Opioid Use

For many, becoming addicted to opioids stems from attempting to manage chronic pain. With so many Americans now reliant on using pills to stop this pain, opioid addiction has reached epidemic proportions. Kathleen Masterson of Vermont Public Radio reports that officials in Vermont are trying a new way to help people on Medicaid manage chronic pain -- and to keep them from getting on opioids in the first place -- acupuncture.

Insurer Moves To Make Getting Addiction Treatment Easier

Big insurer Aetna says it will soon stop requiring doctors to get prior approval before prescribing Suboxone, a key tool in helping people with addiction kick the habit by easing withdrawal symptoms. Kaiser Health News' Shefali Luthra reports that the step to instantly ease that pain could be key to stopping possible relapse.

We're Dependent On Foreign Docs, Trump's Travel Ban Makes That All-Too Clear

KERA's Lauren Silverman reports there are about 280,000 international medical graduates in the U.S. That's about 1 in 4 doctors practicing here, and many don't have permanent visas. The uncertainty of what effect a travel ban to some Muslim-majority nations could have on our nation's medical systems has many worried that health care in the U.S. could suffer as a result.

Quick Hits
Depression is hitting teen girls especially hard, and social media isn't helping.

Your flu shot might not work very well this year, the CDC warns.

But, hey, vitamin D might help.

Taboo no more: A federal court says doctors can talk to patients about gun safety again.

Gloomy projections say 130 million Americans will likely have a cardiovascular disease by 2035.

We're making progress against HIV, but rates of contraction are up for gay Latinos.