Around the nation: Police chief warns drug users their meth 'is contaminated with the Zika virus'

Bite-sized hospital and health industry news

  • New York: The state's electronic prescription mandate took effect on Sunday. Providers now must send prescriptions directly to pharmacies with some exceptions, such as prescribing medication with complex directions or an emergency prescription. Providers were given an extra year to prepare for the mandate, and New York will be the first state to enforce penalties, ranging from fines and license revocation to jail, if physicians don't use an e-prescribing system. However, Joseph Maldonado Jr., president of the Medical Society of the State of New York, says that enforcement will likely be lax in the beginning, as long as the provider can show an attempt to comply (Rubenfire, Modern Healthcare, 3/26; AP/Washington Times, 3/27).
  • Massachusetts: Opioid-related visits to Massachusetts hospitals—including observation stays, admissions, and ED treatment—have increased from 31,000 in 2007 to about 57,000 in 2014, according to a recent analysis. The data show about 75 percent of those admissions were paid for by the state and federal government. Researchers hope the data will allow communities to target areas with a high concentration of opioid misuse hospitalizations for intervention efforts (Freyer, Boston Globe, 3/28).

  • South Carolina: Growing frustration with drug trafficking in his small South Carolina town prompted Salley Police Department Chief Jarrod Goldman to write a Facebook post encouraging those who "recently purchased meth in the Wagener, Perry, Salley or the Windsor area" to "bring [their] meth to the Salley Police Department for testing" because it could be "contaminated with the Zika virus." Goldman says he doesn't expect anyone to come forward, but if they do, he's ready to make a drug arrest (STAT News, 3/25; Owens, WRDW 12, 3/25).

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