The Hill – Trump to declare opioid epidemic a national emergency
President Trump on Thursday said he is drafting paperwork to declare the opioid epidemic a national emergency. “The opioid crisis is an emergency, and I’m saying officially right now it is an emergency,” Trump said. “It’s a national emergency. We’re going to spend a lot of time, a lot of effort and a lot of money on the opioid crisis.” Declaring a national emergency was the “first and most urgent” recommendation from an interim report released last week from a White House commission tasked with helping curb opioid abuse.

The Washington Post – Bipartisan health policy coalition urges Congress to strengthen the ACA
An unlikely coalition of liberal and conservative health-policy leaders is calling on Congress to strengthen the existing health-care law in a variety of ways to help Americans get and keep insurance. In particular, the group is urging the government to continue paying all the federal subsidies provided under the Affordable Care Act and to help Americans enroll in coverage. In a five-point set of principles issued this week, the coalition laid out a potential bipartisan path forward after a Republican strategy to tilt federal health policies in more conservative directions failed in the Senate last month.

Reuters – Risky drinking habits on the rise among U.S. adults: study
High-risk drinking among U.S. adults increased about 30 percent between 2001-2002 and 2012-2013, according to a new study that called the proportion Americans developing alcohol dependence a “public health crisis.” The study defined high-risk drinking as regular consumption of four drinks a day for women or five for men. U.S. adults with an alcohol use disorder, defined as a dependence on alcohol, also increased nearly 50 percent during the period studied, researchers found. Increases in drinking were greatest among women, older adults, racial and ethnic minorities and people with low education and income levels, the study found.

Scientific American – U.S. biomedical research facilities still unprepared for natural disasters and attacks
When Hurricane Sandy hit New York City in 2012, the storm destroyed more than US$20 million worth of scientific equipment at New York University’s (NYU) Langone Medical Center. Tropical storm Allison hit the University of Texas Health Science Center (UT Health) in Houston in 2001 and caused so much damage some researchers had to restart their careers elsewhere. Despite such catastrophes, a new report finds that many research institutions in the United States are still unprepared for disasters. It recommends that universities and scientists take steps to protect biomedical research from emergencies of all scales, including natural disasters, fire, cyberattacks and terrorism.

CNN – Vitamin B3 may prevent some miscarriages, birth defects, study says
Vitamin B3 — found in meat and green vegetables — has been shown to prevent one genetic cause of birth defects and miscarriages, according to a new study published in the New England Journal of Medicine. Overall, birth defects and miscarriage are global problems, affecting up to 6% of babies and up to 20% of known pregnancies. A possible prevention, then, could help millions worldwide.