The Food and Drug Administration announced Thursday it has approved the use of the powerful and frequently abused opioid painkiller OxyContin for children ages 11 to 16 who suffer from severe long-term pain.
In recent years, as a national conversation about racial discrepancies in American policing has heated up, a depressing subplot has also emerged: a pattern of similar discrepancies in how discipline is meted out in schools. Black students made up just 18 percent of students in the public schools sampled by the New York Times in 2012, but “they accounted for 35 percent of those suspended once” and 39 percent of those expelled — examining federal data, the Times also noted that “nationwide, more than 70 percent of students involved in arrests or referrals to court are black or Hispanic.” Even black preschoolers were not exempt: They made up the same 18 percent of the student population, but constituted half of all suspensions.
The majority of children, adolescents and young adults prescribed antipsychotic medications have not been diagnosed with a mental disorder, according to a recent study published in JAMA Psychiatry. The study, led by Mark Olfson from Columbia University, examined trends in the treatment of young people with antipsychotics in the United States between 2006 and 2010 and raised concerns about the safety and efficacy of prescription practices.
Pregnant mothers treated with antidepressants have a lower risk of giving birth prematurely or having a delivery by Caesarean section. However, use of selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors (SSRIs) is associated with a higher risk of neonatal problems, according to a recent study.
Just as concerned parents were mounting a grassroots campaign against a new Rhode Island mandate for all 7th graders to get the HPV vaccine — and as health officials were gearing up for the kickoff on Wednesday of a statewide series of informational meetings on the shots — the federal government announced that the state has the highest rate in the nation for vaccinating youths against the sexually transmitted virus linked to cancer.