September 11, 2018
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Opioid addictions are on the rise in America, and researchers may have found a reason why.

From 2006 to 2015, nearly one-third of opioid prescriptions went to patients who weren't even diagnosed with pain, per a study published Tuesday in the journal Annals of Internal Medicine. Researchers broke down nearly 32,000 cases where opioids were prescribed and found they often went to patients with hypertension, high cholesterol, and even "opioid dependence."

America's opioid epidemic has skyrocketed over the past 20 years, with deaths from prescription and especially synthetic opioids still rising as of 2016. About 115 Americans die every day from an opioid overdose, per the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. That includes deaths from misused prescriptions. The CDC has encouraged doctors to dole out lower-grade painkillers to combat addiction.

After breaking down a survey of physician visits, the study found that 71 percent of opioid prescriptions went to patients with cancer- or non-cancer-related pain. But doctors didn't give a good reason for the other 28.5 percent of prescriptions, the researchers found. It was especially common for doctors to keep giving opioids to patients already on them, even if the recipients didn't report ongoing pain.

The study's researchers suggest doctors should better document why they're prescribing opioids. This way, they can more accurately determine which health issues warrant the strong painkillers — and be held accountable if they prescribe them to patients who don't need them. Kathryn Krawczyk

September 10, 2018
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China is persecuting, detaining, and even torturing Muslims under the guise of combating terrorism, a report compiled by Human Rights Watch, a non-governmental advocacy organization, reveals.

The apparent rights violations are happening in China's northwest Xinjiang region, where Turkic Muslims used to be in the majority. But the Uyghur and Kazakh minorities now make up just half the population, and Human Rights Watch's interviews suggest China's "Strike Hard Campaign against Violent Terrorism" may be to blame.

China has long sought to repress Uyghurs and other Muslim minorities' culture by forcing them into "political education camps" if they're caught with "religious materials." In one case, having some e-books in a native language constituted a crime, one Uyghur told Human Rights Watch. Detainees have to learn at least 1,000 Mandarin Chinese characters and memorize intense anti-Uyghur rules before leaving, in an attempt to "eradicate" their religious and ethnic roots, authorities have said. Many Uyghurs that Human Rights Watch interviewed said that more than half of their immediate families are in these camps, awaiting trial, or in prison. And if they're not detained, Uyghurs still have to go to Mandarin classes and other Chinese cultural education programs.

But these camps have recently taken their offenses beyond education, Human Rights Watch says. Detainees describe being strapped to a metal "tiger chair" and interrogated for days, and saw others beaten and hanged until they admitted to terrorism charges. Some Uyghurs have left the country in search of asylum, but the Chinese government has requested that other nations deport them back to China, and they've complied. This "loyalty drive" has transformed into "human right violations ... of a scope and scale not seen in China since the 1966-1976 Cultural Revolution," Human Rights Watch says.

Read the full report at Human Rights Watch. Kathryn Krawczyk

September 6, 2018

The Catholic Church's Pennsylvania scandal could be headed north.

New York Attorney General Barbara Underwood has launched a civil investigation into the state's Catholic churches, she announced Thursday. To get it started, she's subpoenaed the state's eight dioceses for all their records regarding child sexual abuse allegations, a source tells The Associated Press.

A massive investigation and report into Pennsylvania's Catholic churches exposed over 1,000 abuse allegations against 300 priests last month. It drew apologies from as far up as the Vatican, but also led victims around the world to share their stories and sparked incredible condemnation of the Catholic Church.

Underwood's announcement addressed the Pennsylvania revelations and encouraged New York victims to report their stories even if they happened years ago. And in a telling display of where the investigation might be headed, Underwood reportedly sent subpoenas to the seven Catholic dioceses of New York state and the archdiocese in New York City, per AP. They request abuse allegations, records of churches paying off victims, and anything else that internal church investigations dug up.

Church leaders have said they'll cooperate with Underwood's civil investigation even if it transforms into a criminal one, AP reports. The attorney general's office is also working with local prosecutors, who can launch criminal investigations within their jurisdictions. Kathryn Krawczyk

August 29, 2018

America saw 37,200 firearm-related deaths in 2016. That's the second highest total of any country in the world.

The count puts America right behind Brazil when it comes to gun deaths — and far ahead of most of the world's most populous countries, a study from the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation reveals. It also means that for every 100,000 people in the U.S., 10.6 died by homicide, suicide, or an accident involving a firearm in 2016.

Six of the countries with the most firearms deaths are in the Americas: Brazil, the U.S., Mexico, Colombia, Venezuela, and Guatemala. Those six countries racked up half of all firearm deaths in the world, the study shows. Meanwhile, countries like the U.K., China, and Japan had the lowest firearm death rates worldwide.

The U.S. saw more than 10,000 more firearm deaths in 2016 than India, which had the next-highest total, the study shows. But India is also home to nearly a billion more people, pushing its gun death rate to 2.1 — far below America's 10.6. The U.S. also had a firearm-related suicide rate of 6.4 per 100,000 people, the second highest rate in the world.

Read more shocking statistics at the Institute for Health Metrics and Evaluation. Kathryn Krawczyk

August 28, 2018

Senators took to the floor Tuesday to share memories of the late Sen. John McCain, who died Saturday a year after being diagnosed with brain cancer. And Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), who's long considered McCain his closest friend and mentor in the Senate, had one of the most touching salutes of all.

Graham kicked off his tribute with one of the jokes McCain was well-known for: how McCain often wished Graham was in his U.S. Naval Academy class because he would've "been sixth from the bottom, not fifth." A few more rapid-fire jokes was as far as Graham made it before the tears began:

Next up came Graham's commendation of McCain's military and public service, which he said taught him that "serving a cause greater than yourself hurts." McCain couldn't put on a jacket or comb his hair thanks to the injuries he sustained in the Navy, Graham said, but he still showed Graham how to "fight everything and everybody," and also how to forgive. Graham then tearfully described just how it made him feel to be "loved by" McCain:

The senator rounded off his tribute with a nod to the future, saying there's "a little John McCain in all of us. And a little John McCain, practiced by a lot of people, can make this a really great nation." Watch it all on CSPAN. Kathryn Krawczyk

August 16, 2018

The parents of an Ohio man who went missing last week on Mount St. Helens said he survived by killing and eating bees and foraging for berries.

Last Thursday, Matthew Matheny borrowed a friend's Subaru Outback for an afternoon at Mount St. Helens. When he didn't come back, he was reported missing, and the car was found Saturday. Matheny was discovered "conscious and alive" on the flanks of Mount St. Helens Wednesday, the Cowlitz County Sheriff's Office said, and he was rushed to a hospital in Vancouver.

Matheny's parents, Carney and Linda, told reporters their son is a nurse and interested in nutrition and health. "We think that may have saved him," Linda Matheny said. He has scratches on him and is dehydrated. "He never found water, but the berries must have had enough fluid to keep him going," Linda Matheny said.

Her son decided to go to Mount St. Helens for the afternoon while his friends were at work, and he "had no idea how turned around he could get, how prepared people have to be," Linda Matheny said. Both parents thanked the search and rescue teams, and said they are "so grateful to everyone we encountered." Catherine Garcia

August 15, 2018

Authorities in New Haven, Connecticut, said at least 41 people have overdosed today in or near New Haven Green, a park close to Yale University, and more calls could come in before the day is over.

Police suspect they overdosed on synthetic marijuana. Rick Fontana, New Haven's director of emergency operations, told CBS News the calls started coming in after 8 a.m., with people showing "a multitude of signs and symptoms ranging from vomiting, hallucinating, high blood pressure, shallow breathing, semi-conscious and unconscious states." The victims were of "all different ages," and for some, anti-overdose drugs did not work on them.

Over a three-hour period, officials responded to 25 overdoses, police said. A man believed to be connected to some of the overdoses was arrested on Wednesday, but officials are not releasing his name. No deaths have been reported, and authorities are now waiting for the results of toxicology tests. Catherine Garcia

August 14, 2018

The names of more than 300 Catholic priests facing child sex abuse allegations in Pennsylvania will be revealed Tuesday — and some of them are still in service.

Pennsylvania's attorney general launched an investigation into six of the state's eight Catholic dioceses after separate probes into the other two dioceses revealed rampant abuse, per The Associated Press. Now, two years and hundreds of allegations later, the 900-page report is ready to be released.

The report contains more than 90 names from Pittsburgh's diocese, including priests Pittsburgh Bishop David Zubik said were still in ministry, The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette reports. "There is no priest or deacon in an assignment today against whom there was a substantiated allegation of child sexual abuse," Zubik said Friday, implying that those facing unsubstantiated claims may still serve. Zubik acknowledged he'll have to meet with concerned parishioners whose priests appear on the list.

Decades of abuse allegations will appear in Tuesday's report, which was set to be released six weeks ago but was delayed by priests' petitions, per The Morning Call, a local Pennsylvania newspaper. Names of priests currently challenging the accusations will also be redacted in Tuesday's report.

Still, the Tuesday report will be one of the world's largest collective records of church sexual abuse, the Morning Call says. One piece of the report, which was kept largely secret until its impending release, damningly declares that "priests were raping little boys and girls, and the men of God who were responsible for them not only did nothing: They hid it all." Kathryn Krawczyk

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