5 Things to Read on Improving Health

Two stories on the opioid crisis, new numbers on diabetes’ reach in the U.S. and a call for more research on drug safety for new moms are all in this week’s reads on improving health.

Many opioid prescriptions aren’t necessary

Almost 30 percent of opioids prescribed in the U.S. don’t have a doctor’s pain diagnosis, a recent study found. It is unclear why a doctor chose to prescribe an opioid or whether opioid therapy is justified, a researcher told CNN. These scripts may be adding to the opioid epidemic.

The opioid crisis hits employers, but they’re slow to respond

Seventy percent of employers report that prescription drug abuse has affected their businesses. But few have plans in place to protect their workers and their business. “Many employers have turned a blind eye to addiction within their workforce, ill-equipped or unwilling to confront a complicated issue they do not know how to address,” Kaiser Health News reports in a deep dive into the issue.

Diabetes affects 30 million Americans

This in from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention: About 30 million, or 14 percent, of adults in America have diabetes. And some of them (about 4 percent) haven’t been diagnosed. HealthDay has more on the growing problem.

[Related: An Approach to Diabetes Prevention that Works]

Experts call for more info on medication safety for new moms

Very little research exists on the safety of certain medications for pregnant and lactating women. In fact, very few drugs have been approved as safe for use during and after pregnancy. But a task force formed in 2016 is pushing the government to change that. STAT News shares how the task force says we can make that happen.

Women face long-term health effects from sexual assault

New research shows women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted are more likely to have anxiety, depression, trouble sleeping and high blood pressure well after it occurred. See NPR’s report on the survey for more.

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