Fentanyl tops drug overdose death rates

RAND has an interesting report titled “The Future of Fentanyl and Other Synthetic Opioids.” What is truly startling is the rise in deaths due to synthetic opioids like fentanyl in the last 5 years: from 3,000 in 2013 to approximately 30,000 in 2018. In fact, synthetic opioids are now involved in twice as many deaths…

Should employers ban soda?

A paper by Basu et al. (2020) argue that banning soda sales would be cost effective for employers. Employers largely bear the cost of adverse health impacts of sugar-sweetened beverages (SSB, aka soda); they also may lose revenue if drinks that are sold on site (e.g., at their cafeteria) decrease. The researchers create a simulation…

$1 billion antibiotic venture fund launched

Antibiotic resistance is a problem. One study from Europe found that in 2015 there were 33,110 deaths attributable to antibiotic resistance; accounting for morbidity as well, antibiotic resistance lead to a a decrease of 874,541 disability-adjusted life years. CDC data show that antibiotic resistant bacteria and fungi caused 35,900 deaths in 2019, 12,800 deaths due…

More evidence that social distancing works

Kapoor et al. (2020) uses rainfall on last weekend before the stay-at-home order as an instrument for social distancing. variables. They find that social distancing works and has persistent effects, especially early on: We test whether earlier social distancing affects the progression of a local COVID-19 outbreak. We exploit county-level rainfall on the last weekend…