The Guardian — APHA Gun violence is an epidemic. It is time for a public health response
To reverse the gun violence epidemic — and it’s important that we use the word “epidemic” — we need to do the same thing we’d do for any infectious disease outbreak. We should track it, find the root causes, use science to find research gaps, create policy solutions and use mass public education campaigns to eradicate the threat. Each year we lose over 30,000 people from firearm-related violence. Wednesday’s mass shooting in San Bernardino County, California, struck especially close to home with me and my colleagues at the American Public Health Association. The county’s health department had its holiday party interrupted by gunfire that killed at least 14 people, injured at least 21 more and emotionally harmed countless families in the community. Yet, this tragedy is not an outlier. So far this year, we have seen more than 350 mass shootings in the U.S. and it happens almost every day. But what’s even more heartbreaking is that gun violence is preventable.

NPR — Is Prescription Opioid Abuse A Crime Problem Or A Health Problem?
Although many people know someone who has abused prescription opioids, people still think of opioid abuse as a criminal justice issue more than a health problem, a study finds. Illegal drug dealing is mentioned most frequently in news stories as the cause of prescription painkiller abuse, and two-thirds of abusers in are shown as being actively involved in crimes, according to an analysis by researchers at Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. When it came to possible solutions, more than half the news stories, 64 percent, mentioned law enforcement, either arresting people who illegally buy and sell opioid painkillers or arresting doctors who illegally provide them. Forty-one percent mentioned prevention, and just 3 percent mentioned expanding treatment.

The Washington Post This common farm pesticide could be damaging the lungs of young children
A common type of pesticide could have damaging effects on the lungs of young children, a new study suggests — and that could lead to more serious health conditions down the road. The research, published Thursday in the journal Thorax, finds that early exposure to organophosphates — a common class of pesticides — is associated with decreased lung function in children. While some past research has indicated such effects in adults, this study is the first to examine the association in children, said the paper’s lead author, Rachel Raanan. She conducted the research as a postdoctoral scholar in the lab of senior author Brenda Eskenazi at the University of California, Berkeley’s School of Public Health.

Los Angeles Times   Nearly half of Americans with high cholesterol are not taking medication, study says
Nearly half of Americans whose cholesterol readings put them at higher risk of heart attack or stroke are not taking medication to drive down that risk, says a new study by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The new study makes clear that public health authorities bent on preventing heart disease and stroke have their pick of a lot of low-hanging fruit. Worrisome cholesterol numbers are a strong risk factor in cardiovascular disease, which contributes to one in three deaths in the United States. And cholesterol-lowering treatment — generally with a low-cost statin medication — has been shown to drive down rates of heart attack and stroke. All told, 44.5 percent of American adults likely to benefit from cholesterol-lowering drugs were not on one. But the cholesterol treatment gaps observed by the CDC were far more pronounced among minorities in the United States than among white Americans.