Homeless Shelters In Anchorage Are Out Of Room As Freezing Temps Loom

Anchorage Daily News says it’s the first time in the decades that there is no walk-in, easy-access homeless shelter service in the city. Also: Details emerge in the surprising US polio case, West Nile Virus in mosquitoes in New Hampshire, and more.

Anchorage Daily News: No Place To Go: Anchorage’s Homeless Shelter Capacity Has Been Pushed To The Brink

There is no slack in Anchorage’s homelessness response system. Shelters and housing programs are largely full, many with long waitlists. For the first time in the decades, there is no walk-in, low-barrier homeless shelter in Anchorage. (Goodykoontz and Hughes, 7/30)

From New York, New Hampshire, Louisiana, North Carolina, and California —

Stat: US Polio Case Tied To Viruses Seen In UK, Israel, Suggesting Silent Spread

Genetic analysis of the virus responsible for the first case of polio in the United States in nearly a decade shows it is linked to vaccine-derived viruses recently detected in Jerusalem and London, the Global Polio Eradication Initiative announced on Friday. (Branswell, 7/29)

New Hampshire Public Radio: NH Sees Its First Mosquito Batch Of West Nile Virus This Season

New Hampshire health officials have identified the first batch of mosquitoes to test positive for West Nile Virus this year. (7/29)

AP: Changes To Marijuana Laws Among Legislation Taking Effect

New laws overhaul regulation of medical marijuana, including changing the chief regulator of medical marijuana from the state Department of Agriculture and Forestry to the Louisiana Department of Health; and expanding the number of medical marijuana pharmacies allowed to operate in the state. (7/31)

AP: Medicaid Expansion Breakthrough Within Reach In N. Carolina

After a decade of vigorous opposition, most North Carolina Republicans have now embraced the idea of ​​expanding the state’s Medicaid program to cover hundreds of thousands of additional low-income adults. Legislative approval finally appears within reach. (Robertson, 7/31)

KHN: Citing A Mental Health Crisis Among Young People, California Lawmakers Target Social Media

Karla Garcia said her son’s social media addiction started in fourth grade, when he got his own computer for virtual learning and logged on to YouTube. Now, two years later, the video-sharing site has replaced both schoolwork and the activities he used to love — like composing music or serenading his friends on the piano, she said. “He just has to have his YouTube,” said Garcia, 56, of West Los Angeles. (Finn, 8/1)

New Mexico In Depth wraps up its special report on alcohol abuse in the state —

New Mexico In Depth: Every Door Is The Right Door: Alcohol Dependence Is New Mexico’s Biggest Untreated Substance Use Problem. Doctors Can Do More To Treat It

By 2013, Steve Harbin’s alcohol problem was plain to nearly everyone. Once a prosperous salesman in the construction industry, he’d lost his job and health insurance. Gone were the dream house he’d designed in Albuquerque’s foothills and many of the motorcycles he’d owned. The last one, a Kawasaki W650 with a peashooter exhaust, sat in his garage in disrepair. (Alcorn, 7/24)

New Mexico In Depth: Paying The Tab: Scientists Say Policies Can Help The State Cut Excess Drinking, But Lawmakers Listen To Alcohol Interests Instead

Alcohol costs New Mexico dearly. It killed 1,878 residents in 2020, three times the nation’s rate. But getting hammered here is cheap. At the Shop-N-Save on Gallup’s west side, a thirty-rack of Natural Ice beer sells for $24.95 after tax, a little over two hours’ earnings at minimum wage. Total Wine in Santa Fe offers a five-liter box of Franzia Crisp White wine for $15.15, or 45 cents per drink. And you can’t do better than Wal-Mart in Rio Rancho, where a 1.75-liter handle of Aristocrat vodka sells for $11.84, just 30 cents a drink. (Alcorn, 7/24)

New Mexico In Depth: A Sober Appraisal: Reducing New Mexico’s Extraordinary Alcohol Death Rate Will Require A Whole-Of-Society Approach

At a 12-steps meeting in Albuquerque’s foothills, one of hundreds held each week statewide, there were cowboys, Anglo women in golf shirts, and Hispanic day laborers. A woman without housing asked around for a place to stay the night. A downcast man in nurse’s scrubs said he had relapsed but hoped to go home that night, if his wife would have him. New Mexicans can’t neglect the state’s enormous alcohol problem even if they want to. (Alcorn, 7/24)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.

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