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This Week In Public Health: Drugmaker Pitches Judges On Opioid Treatment

Jake Harper
Side Effects Public Media
Judge Lewis Gregory, head of the city court in Greenwood, Ind., began allowing drug court participants to begin taking Vivitrol after meeting with an Alkermes sales representative.
People who are addicted to drugs who've been arrested sometimes get a chance to go through treatment court instead of jail, but what happens when a drugmaker markets its product directly to judges and officials who can order people use the product? This week, Side Effects looks at the people stuck in the system and the people making decisions behind the scenes on their care.

To Grow Market Share, A Drugmaker Pitches Its Product To Judges
Vivitrol, a monthly injection of naltrexone, is one of three medications approved by the Food and Drug Administration for treating opioid addiction. While it's effective for some, it's not for everyone. Now the maker of Vivitrol is marketing directly to drug court judges and other officials who have the authority to mandate that people who are accused of drug crimes get treatment. Side Effects' Jake Harper reports on the drugmaker's strategy.

Credit Gretchen Frazee / WTIU News

Surgeon General Nominee Jerome Adams Tells Confirmation Panel Science Is Important, But Not Enough
President Donald Trump's pick for surgeon general told senators this week thathe would put scientific evidence first, even if it would risk him becoming politically unpopular. The Indiana State Health Commissioner received praise from several members of the senate panel.

Credit Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media
KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

Missouri Finally Has Prescription Drug Monitoring, So Why Can’t Prescribers Use It?
A new program will give the state a tool to examine the providers who may be inappropriately or illegally prescribing narcotics. But some wanted a way to detect patients themselves who were "doctor-shopping" for pain pills. Their hands, however, were tied, reports Side Effects' Bram Sable-Smith.

What we're reading:

In Texas, lawmakers passed four bills aimed at lowering the state's maternal mortality rate.

And in Baltimore, the city is enlisting the help of doulas to lower its infant mortality rate.

Maine will soon become the fourth state to increase its legal smoking age to 21.

President Trump has touted a resurgence of middle-class, blue collar jobs. But failed drug tests by prospective workers could take its toll on the economy's gains.

Too embarrassed to ask your friends what Medicaid really does for people? Here's a handy explainer.

Finally, President Trump's commission looking into the opioid crisis in America released a report this week. "The commission’s preliminary recommendations are largely in line with those of many public health advocates" Will Trump follow suit?