Public Health News Roundup: December 10
Synthetic Marijuana Linked to Thousands of Emergency Room Trips Annually
“Synthetic marijuana” was connected to 11,406 emergency department visits in 2010 alone, according to a new report by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. Synthetic cannabinoids, which are legal in some states, have been linked to health issues ranging from agitation and nausea to tremors, seizures and hallucinations. “This report confirms that synthetic drugs cause substantial damage to public health and safety in America,” said Office of National Drug Control Policy Director Gil Kerlikowske. “Make no mistake—the use of synthetic cannabinoids can cause serious, lasting damage, particularly in young people. Parents have a responsibility to learn what these drugs can do and to educate their families about the negative impact they cause.” Read more on substance abuse.
NHTSA Calls for Safety Recorders in New Automobiles
The U.S. Department of Transportation’s National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) is recommending that all new automobiles be equipped with event data recorders (EDRs) starting September 1, 2014. About 96 percent of 2013 models include EDRs, which collect safety-related data such as vehicle speed, whether the brake was activated before a crash and information about air bag deployment. “By understanding how drivers respond in a crash and whether key safety systems operate properly, NHTSA and automakers can make our vehicles and our roadways even safer,” said Transportation Secretary Ray LaHood. “This proposal will give us the critical insight and information we need to save more lives.” Read more on transportation and health.
Winter Markets up 52 Percent from 2011
The number of winter markets in the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Farmers Market Directory is up 52 percent from last year, to a total of 1,864. The markets enable farmers to expand their selling seasons and generate additional income, according to Agriculture Deputy Secretary Kathleen Merrigan. "These investments are a win-win,” Merrigan said in a release. “Farmers have more stability, and consumers have a reliable supply of local food, regardless of the season." The top state for winter markets is California, with 284. Read more on nutrition.