health and science

blonde woman in front of grey background blowing vapor out of her mouth
Photo by Sharon McCutcheon on Unsplash

As vaping makes national headlines, Florida lawmakers are bringing their agenda and policies to the forefront.

Capital Health Plan

Later this fall, Capital Health Plan will open its new Metro Center Building near the corner of Thomasville Road and Interstate 10.

Opioid painkillers layed out on a table.
irissca / Adobe Stock

In Florida, an estimated 17 people die every day from opioid abuse. To combat the issue, Attorney General Ashely Moody and Governor Ron DeSantis have created a new statewide task force. The group is charged with developing best practices for opioid abuse prevention through education, treatment, and law enforcement. Two recently appointed board members spoke about how they hope to help.

The chemistry formula of Fentanyl
Zerbor / Adobe Stock

Wednesday, the White House announced the federal government will be cracking down on international fentanyl trafficking. Fentanyl is a pain reliever used for treating severe pain, but in recent years the addictive drug has been used recreationally - causing more than 28,000 deaths in 2017. That’s more than half the deaths caused by opioids overall that year. Making it the biggest contributor to the opioid overdose.

Neil Armstrong / NASA via AP

Here in Tallahassee the Florida Historic Capitol Museum is holding an event to acknowledge the day the first human footprint was left on the moon.

Kristin Roberts / National High Magnetic Field Laboratory

Scientists at Florida State University have created the world’s most powerful continuous field magnet magnet. It’s capable of generating a 45.5-tesla field. Chief Materials Scientist David Larbalestier explains what that could mean for the future.

Person Washing Hands in Bathroom Sink
Photo by Curology on Unsplash

Hepatitis A infections are on the rise in Florida and the solution to stopping the outbreak could be as simple as washing your hands.  Despite giving out 6,900 free hepatitis A vaccines last week, the state saw its biggest increase in new cases.

 

pill bottles
David Kessler on Flickr. Attribution-ShareAlike 2.0 Generic (CC BY-SA 2.0) / https://flic.kr/p/5Ya3x

Attorney General Ashley Moody will have access to information in a prescription drug monitoring database under a bill passed this session.

Kevin Del Orbe

Florida State University’s College of Medicine has opened its new Primary Health Center, in sight of Sabal Palm Elementary School.

www.FAWL.org

The Florida Association of Women Lawyers (FAWL) and the Statewide Guardian ad Litem Program (GAL) have launched a partnership in which attorneys will be mentors for young women aging out of foster care.

FAWL president Jennifer Shoaf Richardson says her members are excited about volunteering one hour monthly to mentor teen girls who are close to aging out of the child welfare system.

"I think many people – and especially foster youth – just need to be pointed in the right direction as far as the questions they need to ask and getting connected to the wonderful resources that already exist," Richardson says.

Planend Parenthood, abortion
Shawn Mulcahy / WFSU

A bill requiring minors to receive parental consent before having an abortion cleared its first state Senate Committee Monday. 

CDC.gov

Mental health has been a frequent topic at the Capitol following more tragic news from Parkland. Two students who survived last year's Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School massacre took their own lives last month. 

The Tampa Bay Times/Miami Herald bureau reports that while the Legislature allocated $69 million for student mental health after the tragedy, almost none of it went to suicide prevention. But some lawmakers have begun to study prevention programs.

Rep. Ray Rodrigues (R-Estero) chairs the House Health and Human Services Committee. He's troubled by a recent report of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control. In mid-February as his panel heard a presentation on suicide, he pointed to data showing Americans' life expectancy had dropped for the third year in a row.

The Florida Children & Youth Cabinet met to discuss children’s needs, from mental to dental health. Each agency in the Cabinet laid out their goals for the legislative session.


Trulieve CEO Kim Rivers speaking with reporters at the opening of Trulieve's Tallahassee dispensary.
Nick Evans

A North Florida man who’s struggled with fibromyalgia for years, on Thursday became the state’s first patient to legally purchase whole-flower cannabis for smoking, just days after Governor Ron DeSantis signed into a law a measure repealing a prohibition against smokable medical marijuana.

vittorio f/flickr

It used to be conventional wisdom among medical and scientific professionals that young children couldn't recall abuse or neglect they had witnessed or endured. But the award-winning documentary "Resilience: The Biology of Stress and the Science of Hope " explodes that myth.

In a groundbreaking move on Friday, public television stations across Florida aired "Resilience" – partly to honor the victims and survivors of the Marjory Stoneman Douglas tragedy, and partly in a statewide effort to keep violence and other trauma from metastasizing into mental and physical illness.

Gabrielle Bolden / WFSU

The United States has the second highest child poverty rates within the 35 wealthiest countries. The Salvation Army is trying to lower those numbers.

Florida is getting closer to its goal of clearing a backlog of more than 13,000 untested rape kits. The state has managed to cut the figure by half.

Blaise Gainey

A non-euphoric strain of cannabis is being sold in stores across Florida. It’s available as oils, edibles, and even flower. But as questions about the legality of it linger, CBD remains in limbo.

Blaise Gainey

Florida’s Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried gave details Wednesday about the new role she hopes the state Director of Cannabis will fill. 

Matthew Jones/flickr

Lawmakers are being asked to consider two competing proposals surrounding access to dental care. One would allow mid-level practitioners to be licensed, while the other would provide incentives to would-be dentists.

A coalition called Floridians for Dental Access wants the Florida Legislature to allow licenses for dental therapists.

Therapists have more training than a dental hygienist and less training than a dentist. They can perform services like filling cavities and pulling teeth.

MGN Online

Update 2/26/19: Two Republican state lawmakers wants to ban abortions in Florida once a heartbeat is detected.

Rep. Mike Hill (R-Pensacola), first filed the bill making it a third-degree felony for any physician who violates the proposed law. 

On Feb. 7, Republican Sen. Dennis Baxley (R-Lady Lake)  filed a companion measure in the Senate.

“It’s time for us to face our history of the last 46 years and the 60 million faces of our offspring that we have extinguished. The heartbeat has always been the clear signal of the presence of life, and that life must be protected," Baxley said in a written statement sent from his office.

He noted a similar proposal was passed in Ohio last year but was vetoed by that state's governor. 

“I think we have a great opportunity this year," Baxley said. “Our new Governor, Ron DeSantis has expressed support for meaningful pro-life legislation, so I don’t think we’ll run in to the same issues that Ohio did.”

Dorioneill/flickr

A law that went into effect last July requires medical providers to check a statewide database before prescribing opioids for patients. Now, lawmakers are being asked to consider an exemption for doctors whose patients are terminally ill.

The law, known as House Bill 21 (HB21), targets controlled substances that are labeled as Schedule II or higher. That includes painkillers like OxyContin and codeine. These drugs are classified as having a high potential for abuse.

Nik Shuliahin / Unsplash

After two suicides by first responders this week, Hillsborough county residents are pushing lawmakers to focus on mental health this upcoming session.

Two-year-old Zainab Mughal has a cancer called neuroblastoma which develops from immature nerve cells found in several areas of the body. She's also missing a particular antigen in her blood, an anomaly only found in people from certain areas of the Middl
Family of Zanaib Mughal / OneBlood

A global search is on for rare blood that could save the life of a South Florida toddler who has cancer. Florida-based OneBlood says it’s specifically in need of donors of Middle Eastern descent. And even then, there’s less than a four percent chance of a match.

A screen within a car dashboard.
Pexels

New technology is making cars safer, but reports from AAA indicate the technology is also raising repair bills and creating lazy drivers.

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