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WHO Recommends New Name for Monkeypox Disease

Following a series of consultations with global experts, WHO will begin using a new preferred term “mpox” as a synonym for monkeypox. Both names will be used simultaneously for one year while “monkeypox” is phased out. When the outbreak of monkeypox expanded earlier this year, racist and stigmatizing language online, in other settings and in some communities was observed and reported to WHO. In several meetings, public and private, a number of individuals and countries raised concerns and asked WHO to propose a way forward to change the name. Learn more from WHO here.

December 1 is World AIDS Day

Thursday, December 1, is World AIDS Day and is an opportunity for people worldwide to unite in the fight against HIV, show their support for people living with HIV, and remember those who have died from an HIV-related illness. Started in 1988, World AIDS Day was the first-ever global health day. The CDC offers #MyVoiceMyAction, an initiative highlighting that every voice and every action impacts the global effort to stop the HIV epidemic. Communicators can make their voice heard and share others’ stories using the #MyVoiceMyAction World AIDS Day Toolkit.

Reaching Gen Z: Engaging Young Audiences in Public Health

ASTHO will host a virtual conversation on effective communication strategies for rebuilding trust in public health and engaging Gen Z as public health advocates. This virtual webinar on Monday, December 12, 2022 at 1:00 PM - 2:00 PM EST will detail the importance of public health messaging, social media, outreach and engagement and data; provide tips and advice for creating new or updating existing crisis communications plans; and share information on tools and resources to assist public health leaders and health communicators in combating misinformation and disinformation. Register here.


Marijuana Classification: The Stakes are “High”

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On October 6, 2022, President Joe Biden pardoned all people convicted previously of federal offenses of simple marijuana possession. He encouraged state governors to do the same. 

Skeptical about whether marijuana should continue to be categorized as a Schedule I drug, the President asked the Secretary of Health and Human Services and the Attorney General to review the classification of marijuana. The Biden administration has not yet decided whether it plans on removing marijuana from the drug schedule entirely (de-scheduling) or placing it on a less-restrictive tier (rescheduling). 

Schedule I drugs have “no currently accepted medical use and a high potential for abuse.” LSD, ecstasy, and heroin are examples of Schedule I drugs. 

“The current classification of cannabis as a Schedule I drug doesn’t make sense. … It does have medicinal properties and a pretty low potential of abuse,” said Carrie Cuttler, Ph.D., an assistant professor of psychology at Washington State University and a researcher involved with the University’s Center for Cannabis Policy, Research, and Outreach. 

Let's explore the rationale for removing marijuana as a Schedule I drug and the pros/cons of rescheduling or de-scheduling it. 

Global Epidemic of Cancer for People Under 50

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Cancer is not just a disease plaguing older adults today. Some types of cancer, such as colorectal, bile duct, breast, endometrium, gall bladder, kidney, pancreas, stomach, and thyroid cancer, are appearing in younger adults at increasing rates each year. 

Among people under 50, the diagnosis of colorectal cancer is rising. The elevated cancer epidemic among young adults worldwide has elevated concerns among researchers, providers, and public health experts. 

Increasing Cancer Rates Among People Under 50 

A review of cancer data from 44 nations, recently published in Nature Reviews Clinical Oncology, reveals that incidences of colorectal and other types of cancer are growing at significant rates. Moreover, these rising rates are occurring in middle- and high-income countries. 

Early-onset cancer, which occurs before 50, is becoming more frequent. The data in the review point to a cohort effect where the risk for early-onset cancer increases for each successive generation. For example, people born in the 1990s are generally at greater risk than individuals born in the previous decade. 

November is Mouth Cancer Action Month

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A cancer diagnosis can be scary, no matter where it appears. While many people worry about breast, lung, pancreatic, or other types of cancer, they might overlook cancer in the mouth. 

November is Mouth Cancer Action Month, a campaign started in the UK to promote awareness, prevention, and early detection. Mouth cancer is a significant health threat. The more you know about its causes and signs, the easier it will be to combat it. 

The Significance of Mouth Cancer Action Month 

Originating in the United Kingdom in 2000, Mouth Cancer Action Month provides an opportunity to raise awareness and encourage early screenings. Cancers affecting the tongue, lips, cheeks, and throat can be severe and life-threatening if not caught in their initial stages. 

Although mouth cancer is more common in men over 40, it increasingly affects women and younger people. As the eleventh most common cancer, there are over 640,000 cases of mouth cancer worldwide. This year, there will be an estimated 52,000 new cases of mouth cancer and about 11,230 deaths in the U.S. 

When accounting for the number of cases, mouth cancer is responsible for more deaths than melanomas or cervical and breast cancer. Even though it’s survivable (if detected early), this cancer can result in tooth loss, facial distortion, damage to the throat or tongue, and talking and eating difficulties. 

Opioid Crisis: A Call to Action

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It is well known that America is in the midst of an opioid epidemic from both prescribed and illicit use. To appreciate the scope of this crisis, consider the following stats: 

  • 70,630 people died from an overdose in 2019 compared to 36,096 who died in car accidents. 
  • 1.6 million people had an opioid use disorder in the past year. 
  • 745,000 people used heroin in the past year. 
  • 10.1 million people misused prescription opioids in the past year. 

Federal Efforts to Beat Opioid Epidemic 

To address this epidemic, the White House launched New Actions and Funding to Address the Overdose Epidemic and Support Recovery on September 23, 2022. 

The $1.5 billion initiative funds all 50 states and territories to treat substance use disorders and remove barriers to key tools like naloxone, a medication that can reverse opioid overdoses. 

The U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) will release new guidance to ease restrictions on naloxone. Currently, there are legal barriers limiting access to naloxone in some states. 

Pew Charitable Trusts Examines State-level Opioid Policies 

Opioid treatment programs (OTPs) are the only healthcare facilities that can offer patients all three FDA-approved medications for opioid use disorder (OUD): methadone, buprenorphine, and naltrexone. These drugs reduce the negative effects of withdrawal without producing the euphoria of the original drug of abuse. 


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