National News

Book News: U.K. Plan To Cut American Lit From Tests Prompts Fierce Backlash

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 04:31

A push to protect To Kill A Mockingbird. Also: Notable books coming out this week include a wildly original collection of poetry and a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad thriller.

» E-Mail This

Heroin, opiate addicts find it tough to get treatment

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-05-27 04:07

Sheryl Santiago's son, Erik, was addicted to pills he'd been prescribed for anxiety and depression.

But when he finally decided to quit, he learned that asking for help and getting it can be two very different things.

"As soon as he contacted [a treatment facility], he thought he could go that night,” Santiago recalled. “He was ready to go and then he just got more and more discouraged."

Erik didn't have health insurance, and neither he nor his parents could afford the private facilities, where a month of treatment can cost as much as $30,000. So the first step for the family was to purchase insurance for Erik.

"When we got the insurance, they only covered a couple places, and they had waiting lists," she said.

A few weeks later, Erik was moved off the waitlist at a local treatment facility in Ocean County, N.J. However, he had been trying to stop using drugs on his own while he waited for help, and the program he was accepted into was the kind of place that helps patients detox with the assistance of medication. Like many facilities of this type, it required potential patients to be active drug users to get treatment -- to actually fail a drug test.

"He told me, he goes, 'Don't be mad at me if I use something because I have to test dirty in order to go into their program,'” said Santiago. “And he did, he must have used whatever he was using prior — the dosage — and it was too much."

Santiago said Erik had been clean for four weeks before he overdosed and died. In that time, his body may have lost some of its tolerance for the drug.

He had just turned 31 when he died, so it's hard not to play a game of “what-ifs?” but Santiago believes her son would still be here today if he'd gotten into a program right away.

"There's not enough beds, there's not enough providers,” confirmed Bruno Silie, a health educator who helps place addicts in treatment facilities at a drop-in center run by the South Jersey AIDS Alliance in Atlantic City, N.J.

"There's options, but the waiting period is ridiculous,” he added. “I've had clients wait for 60-plus days, and by that time they've given up."

"You really have to strike when the iron's hot," said Kimberly Reilly, the alcohol and drug coordinator in Ocean County, N.J. "So if someone comes to us and says I'm motivated for treatment, you really want to get them in, really, within that hour, because the next hour they could be off looking for their next hit of heroin."

There are simply not enough beds to meet New Jersey’s growing demand for substance abuse treatment. Statewide, admissions are up nearly 40 percent since 2006. As the state diverts more nonviolent drug users to treatment over prison, the waiting lists are even more of an issue.

Increasingly, people are seeking treatment for heroin and opiate additions. In Ocean County, half the admissions last year were for heroin. It's cheap and easily accessible, so many users turn to the drug after getting addicted to prescription pills, such as OxyContin.

The situation in New Jersey is mirrored across the country, according to Roseanne Scotti, director of the Drug Policy Alliance in New Jersey.

Scotti noted the Affordable Care Act will eventually add coverage for many people with mental health and substance abuse issues. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that the ACA will eventually extend coverage to approximately 11 million people with behavioral health conditions, which include mental health and substance use issues.

Without significant expansion of treatment options, that expansion may create additional backlogs.

“In some states, like New Jersey, there just isn’t the infrastructure, at this point,” said Scotti. “There’s going to have to be new facilities, new providers, new licensed addiction counselors, and that’s going to take a while to ramp up.”

In addition to expanded access to insurance, other factors – like the aging population, the high turnover of substance abuse counselors, and better medical screening for addition – affect the availability of treatment options, according to Andrea Kopstein, a division director in SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.

Kopstein says the Obama administration is making a “significant investment” in both the number of treatments slots and to expand the number of professionals working in the field, SAMHSA was unable to specify how much. The most recent figure available on U.S. spending for substance abuse was $24 billion in 2009. 

Rising risk in mortgage market

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-05-27 03:59

A new report from the American Enterprise Institute suggests that home-buyers are more likely to default on new mortgages.

The mortgages were subjected to a stress test. Under the worst case scenario, an increasing percentage of the loans would fall into foreclosure.

But when considered historically, housing consultant Thomas Lawler says new mortgages are, “Substantially lower in terms of overall risk than any time in 20 plus years.”

Lawler says the risk of another all-out housing crisis is much lower because fewer mortgages are backed with borrowed money.

Ukraine Retakes Airport, After Airstrikes And Dozens Of Deaths

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 03:52

Violent clashes erupted Monday and Tuesday; at least 35 people have died. Government forces launched an operation at the airport one day after Ukraine's national elections.

» E-Mail This

Nigerian Officials Say They've Located Missing Girls

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 03:00

More than 200 girls who were abducted by militants in Nigeria's northeast have been located – but Nigeria's military says it's too risky to try to free them by force.

» E-Mail This

The tech challenges of hurricane season

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-05-27 01:17

This week is Hurricane Awareness Week, which precedes the official start of the hurricane season.

While storms like Hurricane Sandy are still unusual, protecting populated coastal areas like New York City is a technological challenge.

"In the last 150 years, the sea level has risen 45 centimeters in New York," said Portland State University's Stefan Talke.

Talke said that may not sound like much, but the result is any storm that hits today is nearly a foot and half higher than it was during the mid 1800s.

One short term solution is to move sensitive tech equipment and electrical boxes out of basements, or build houses several feet off the ground.

Another technology that might help is a deployable flood barrier.

Philip Orton, a professor at the Stevens Institute of Technology, said it's a temporary structure built to help protect the city.

"It just gets deployed when there's a storm coming. It's unpopular to some people because there can be human error if it's not deployed correctly."

ON THE AIR
Echoes
Next Up: @ 02:00 am
BBC World Service

KBBI is Powered by Active Listeners like You

As we celebrate 35 years of broadcasting, we look ahead to technology improvements and the changing landscape of public radio.

Support the voices, music, information, and ideas that add so much to your life.Thank you for supporting your local public radio station.

FOLLOW US

Drupal theme by pixeljets.com ver.1.4