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Seven die amid wave of overdoses from suspected counterfeit painkillers

Fentanyl deathsSeven people have died in Sacramento, California, from what authorities think may be overdoses from counterfeit prescription painkillers containing the powerful opiate fentanyl.

It is the first time that fentanyl, a growing problem on the east coast and in Canada, has surfaced in northern California, according to DEA special agent Casey Rettig.

Opioid abuse has burgeoned into an epidemic in the United States, with Barack Obama this week announcing a new initiative to combat it, after last month promising $1.1bn to the effort. At a recent drug summit, he pointed out that more Americans die each year from opioid abuse than car accidents.


Abortion without the clinic on offer with revolutionary new US program

Abortion without the clinicA groundbreaking new experiment is launching in four states that could make abortion dramatically more accessible by allowing women to obtain abortion-inducing drugs through the mail.

The program, which will be run as a pilot study out of four clinics in New York, Hawaii, Oregon and Washington state, is a first in the US – and one that its architects urgently hope to expand as the country’s abortion clinics close down at historic rates.


Texas Forced This Woman to Deliver a Stillborn Baby

Texas forces still birthDaniel and Taylor Mahaffey were 20 weeks pregnant and desperately wanted their child, but when doctors informed them a complication meant the fetus had no chance of survival, they just wanted their baby’s suffering to end. Yet because of their state’s “fetal pain” law, the married Texans say they were forced to endure a stillbirth and wait as their baby slowly died in utero.

The Mahaffeys had begun decorating the nursery in anticipation for the little boy they planned to name Fox, after one of the Lost Boys in Peter Pan.


First Liver Transplant Between HIV-Positive Donor and Recipient Marks Milestone for HIV Patients

HIV liver transplantWhen Morris Murray was diagnosed with HIV in 1987, he thought he would be dead in a few years. But nearly 30 years since his diagnosis, Murray is still alive and now speaking about the importance of treating HIV as a chronic disease and not a death sentence.

Today, he spoke at Johns Hopkins University, where doctors performed the first liver transplant between a donor and recipient who are both HIV-positive. Doctors performed the operation on an unnamed patient who received a liver transplant from a deceased donor this week. It's the first transplant of its kind since the passage of the HOPE act, which overturned a federal law to allow transplants between HIV-positive donors and recipients.


FDA Eases Rules for Abortion Pill, Making Access Simpler in U.S.

MifeprexThe U.S. Food and Drug Administration simplified the regulations for using pills to induce an abortion, making the procedure more easily available to American women even as several states consider efforts to curtail the practice.

The medication, known as Mifeprex, now can be taken by women who are as much as 10 weeks pregnant, up from 7 weeks, according to a new label posted on the agency’s website. The dose was also cut by two-thirds to 200 milligrams, reducing the risk of side effects.


Terminix fined $10 million for poisoning family

Termionix pays family for illnessesTerminix will pay $10 million for using an illegal pesticide in the U.S. Virgin Islands that almost killed a family last year, federal officials said.

The family of four from Delaware was vacationing in the U.S. Virgin Islands when they all became seriously ill after the living unit one floor below them was fumigated.


SCOTUS seeks new birth control policy

SCOTUSThe Supreme Court’s unexpected request for new arguments on Obamacare’s birth control coverage requirement Tuesday suggests that the court wants to come up with a compromise scenario for providing contraception to employees of religious nonprofits.

The court on Tuesday instructed the parties in Zubik v. Burwell to file new briefs on how employees could get the coverage through their employer-sponsored plans in a way that does not involve the nonprofits. The order came less than a week after the court heard oral arguments in the case, which addresses whether Obamacare’s birth control coverage requirement violates the nonprofits' religious beliefs.


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