Elected officials, advocates call for mental health response changes – Politico

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— New York City Council Member Donovan Richards has called on the Queens district attorney’s office to drop charges against a woman who was arrested after calling 911 for her son, who has a mental illness.

— A Manhattan man in his 30s has become the second person to die in the state from a vaping-related illness, officials announced this week. His death comes as city and state officials work to improve consumer protections and force e-cigarette maker Juul to open up its accounting, among other efforts.

— Gov. Andrew Cuomo vetoed legislation that would have added a dozen seats to the state’s Public Health and Health Planning Council, but directed state health officials to appoint two consumer advocates to the panel.

Policy and Politics

MENTAL HEALTH EMERGENCY — POLITICO’s Amanda Eisenberg: Council Member Donovan Richards called on the Queens district attorney’s office Wednesday to drop charges against a woman who was arrested after calling 911 for her son, who has a mental illness. Advocates say cases like these are common outcomes for New Yorkers who interact with the police during a mental health crisis. Peggy Herrera, a mother of four from Jamaica, Queens, said she called 911 in August when her 21-year-old son Justin was in the midst of a mental health crisis in August. NYPD officers arrived with medical technicians and arrested Herrera when she refused to let the officers into her home; the officers allegedly threw her on the ground and cuffed her while dragging her son out of the apartment by his neck.The 49-year-old has been charged with obstructing governmental administration in the second degree — a misdemeanor that has a maximum jail time of one year — and will make a court appearance Thursday morning, according to the Queens District Attorney’s office. The office did not return a request for comment on whether it would drop the charges.

VAPING DEATH — Amanda reports: A second person in New York City has died due to a vaping-related illness, Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced. The man was in his 30s from Manhattan and allegedly had a history of using e-cigarettes and vaping products, according to a state health department investigation. The state has not released other details, such as the man’s name and what chemicals were found in his system upon autopsy. Vitamin E acetate has been linked to the 2,172 lung-related injuries across the United States, as of Nov. 13, according to the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

— Mayor Bill de Blasio called the second vaping death “a tragic reality that has to be addressed in every way,” at an unrelated press conference Wednesday. “We now have constantly horrible, painful evidence that vaping is dangerous and it needs to be quickly and aggressively limited,” he told reporters. De Blasio said he supports higher taxes on e-cigarettes and wants to see more aggressive efforts to combat vaping. “I don’t understand how we can see a health crisis before our eyes and not decide it’s better to put a freeze on things and protect lives, and then we can work out what’s fair going forward,” he said.

VETOED — POLITICO’s Shannon Young: Gov. Andrew Cuomo on Wednesday vetoed legislation that would have added a dozen seats to the state’s Public Health and Health Planning Council. Cuomo, in explaining his veto, offered that unlike other advisory bodies under the province of the executive branch, PHHPC has powers beyond “mere recommendations” and exercises regulatory authority. He further argued that the panel already has difficulty in attaining a quorum with just 24 members and “coordinating schedules with 36 members will only make this more challenging.”

… The governor, however, said he would direct the Department of Health to appoint two consumer advocates to the PHHPC and to ensure the council “is more reflective of the diversity of the state’s health care community.” The measure, which cleared the Legislature in March, sought to increase the panel’s members to 36, including 30 appointed by the governor with the advice and consent of the Senate and six appointed by the governor — two upon recommendation of the Assembly speaker; two upon recommendation of the temporary president of the Senate; one upon recommendation of the minority leader of the Assembly; and one upon recommendation of the minority leader of the Senate.

ICYMI — POLITICO’s Nick Niedzwiadek: Proposed federal regulations for the hemp industry have injected a sense of uncertainty in the rapidly developing sector, according to industry leaders in New York. The largest disappointment is related to THC testing.

Odds and Ends

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NOW WE KNOW — Eyelash extensions could be giving you lash lice or mites.

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TODAY’S TIP — “Early detection increases the chance of successful treatment, so we encourage people who have smoked for a number of years to find out whether or not they have early-stage lung cancer, which may have no discernable symptoms,” according to Dr. Anthony Saleh, a pulmonologist at NewYork-Presbyterian Brooklyn Methodist Hospital.

MAKE SURE TO FOLLOW Amanda @aeis17, Shannon @ShannonYoung413 and Dan @DanCGoldberg on Twitter. And for all New Jersey health news, check out @samjsutton.

STUDY THIS — People who survived gunshot wounds reported negative outcomes years after being shot, including increased unemployment and alcohol and substance use. Nearly half also screened positive for probable posttraumatic stress disorder, according to new research published in JAMA Surgery.

Around New York

HPA CONFERENCE — The New York Health Plan Association holds its annual conference in Albany today. The one-day event will focus on “the challenge of rising costs and explore solutions to make health care more affordable for New Yorkers,” according to organizers.

— A coalition of patients, health care professionals, unions and others plan to picket outside the conference to protest what they called “the industry’s widely-practiced methods that lead to devastating consequences for patients.”

MARIJUANA RALLY — Sen. Liz Krueger joins Public Advocate Jumaane Williams, Vocal-NY’s Jawanza Williams, Drug Policy Alliance’s Melissa Moore and Council Members Antonio Reynoso, Brad Lander and Steve Levin today for a noon rally outside New York City Hall urging passage of a comprehensive marijuana legalization bill.

NOT MINE — A bag of marijuana, which had been purchased in Canada, was seized from the backpack of a 4-year-old preschool student at Cataract Elementary School in Niagara Falls on Wednesday.

OP-ED — Vireo Health’s Bruce Linton and Kyle Kingsley argued in an op-ed that the federal government is to blame for the vaping crisis.

Pharma Report

MISSING THE MARK — Bristol-Myers Squibb Co said a late-stage trial testing a combination of its cancer drugs will continue unchanged despite missing a main goal of preventing skin cancer from recurring in a certain group of patients, Reuters reports.

OXY CHINA — The Associated Press reports: “Thousands of lawsuits across the United States have accused a drug company owned by the billionaire Sackler family of using false claims to push highly addictive opioids on an unsuspecting nation, fueling the deadliest drug epidemic in U.S. history. Yet, even as its U.S. drugmaker collapses under the charges, another company owned by the family has used the same tactics to peddle its signature painkiller, OxyContin, in China.”

What We’re Reading

YOUR TOAST FUNDS TERRORISM — Mexican cartels are engaging in outright warfare over “green gold,” writes Kate Linthicum for The Los Angeles Times.

HIT THE BRAKES — Bloomberg reports: “U.S. regulators are hitting the brakes on plans to force tobacco companies to drastically reduce addictive nicotine in cigarettes, retreating on an ambitious public-health initiative that comes amid increasing worry about nicotine use among young people.”

STRANGE ALLIANCES — Conservative activists are diving into the fray over vaping regulations. The Eagle Forum and Concerned Women for America, as well as former White House Domestic Policy Council adviser Katy Talento, are encouraging President Donald Trump to take up a ban on flavored vape products that he’d floated and subsequently abandoned, according to The Washington Post.

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