Policy Brief

Issue at a Glance

IHPL periodically develops briefs on current issues with a special focus on oral health, hunger, and mental/behavioral health.  We hope that our “Issue At A Glance” will inform our readers and spark a dialogue among stakeholders to better promote health and prevent disease.

Issue Briefs

December 2019. The High Cost of Prescription Drugs in the United States

The high cost of prescription drugs is a problem that is unique to the United States. Patients are frequently rationing or skipping essential medications due to cost. The drivers of high prescription drug costs are complex and multi-factorial. In response to this escalating problem, Congressional members are working on federal policy proposals to address this issue.

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October 2019. Climate Change and its Effects on Health

In the last few decades, the Earth has been experiencing a rapid change in climate driven by human activity, resulting in severe and erratic weather patterns such as extreme heat, drought, and storms. In turn, these changes can lead to direct and indirect adverse health effects. This brief highlights the issue of climate change, its drivers, and its effects on health. Additionally, it provides ways that individuals and systems can help to reverse the current trend.

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September 2019. The Status of Marijuana in the United States

Legalization of recreational and medical marijuana has become increasingly common throughout the states. While some studies indicate potential health benefits, others indicate adverse health outcomes and there is still much research to be conducted on the effects of marijuana policy and overall public health outcomes. This brief provides an overview of the recent trends in marijuana usage and its health effects.

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August 2019. E-Cigarette Use Among Youth

In the last few years, e-cigarette use has spiked among youth because of their flavors and the marketing strategy by tobacco companies. Recently, federal and state policies have begun regulating e-cigarettes to curb youth exposure and use to these substances that pose health risks.

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July 2019. Drinking Water Pollution in California

While most Californians have safe drinking water, many of California’s water sources are contaminated with pollutants that are hazardous to human health. California will need to find solutions to ensure the right to clean water for all.

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June 2019. Firearm Violence and American Youth

Youth firearm-related injuries and death have become a public health epidemic that is unique to American society. Firearm violence can have lasting impacts on youth throughout their lives. The solution calls for prevention and intervention efforts that include federal legislation and community-based solutions.

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May 2019. Agricultural Pesticide Use and Health in California

While agricultural pesticides contribute to food security, they can also have adverse effects on human health. This brief will explore agricultural use and regulation in California, health effects on Californians, socioeconomic disparities, and recommendations to improve the health and wellbeing of Californians.

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February 2019. Mental Health Care for Veterans

United States veterans may suffer from poor mental health as a result of dangerous and traumatic events that occurred during their service. Although the Veterans Health Administration provides mental health services, many veterans face barriers to accessing health care.

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January 2019. Suicidal Behavior in Youth

Suicidal behavior among youth is increasing over time even though suicide is preventable. This brief explores the state of suicidal behavior among youth in the United States, discusses risk factors, and offers solutions at the government, community, and individual level to overcome this epidemic.

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