Tobacco products like Swisher Sweets and Backwoods are mainstays in corner stores across the country. Some say that the bright wrapping and flavors like peach and fruit punch make these products attractive to the kids who encounter them while buying snacks. That’s why the city of Richmond bans menthol cigarettes and flavored tobacco products.
The rate of hospitalizations for the flu in the United States has hit the highest levels since health officials started recording this data in 2010. But experts are cautious comparing this year’s flu season to other severe seasons in previous years.
At least 109 individuals living in Richmond city limits have no home to return. This is according to the annual Point in Time count, a county-wide assessment conducted on one night of the year that tallies the number of people sleeping outside.
But the Richmond Police Department reports encountering up to 800 separate individuals sleeping outside on any given night.
The situation is desperate. Research indicates that homeless individuals live shorter lives, endure higher rates of mental illness, drug addiction, poor health and injury than their sheltered counterparts. Still, people without homes are often dismissed as careless or crazy, the lasting legacy of a stigma that has its roots in the Great Depression era, when welfare programs were introduced in the United States.
Richmond residents’ access to health care is limited, and the situation is not improving. Policies at the state and federal level have put providers in dire financial straits, and access to emergency and primary care does not look good for West County. But proponents of a new approach to public health, one that’s being tested in Richmond, say that health is more than just health care. This new municipal ordinance, called “Health in All Policies,” treats the city planner as the city’s doctor. But in Richmond, where many people have trouble getting access to a medical doctor, will this prescription for the city as a patient be effective?
Underutilization of the CalFresh program in Contra Costa County resulted in a projected loss of nearly $94 million in annual economic impact. Five years later, the federal aid remains untapped.
Contra Costa County has opted into a pilot program for treating Medi-Cal enrollees with substance use disorders. Experts are optimistic that the program will help more people suffering from substance use disorders get treatment quickly.