National News

Supreme Court Rules In Favor Of Secret Service In Free Speech Case

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 06:50

Anti-Bush protesters claimed the Secret Service violated their First Amendment rights because they moved them away from the president. The Court said there was a security reason for doing so.

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With A Heavy Hand, Chinese Authorities Crack Down On Mourners

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 06:20

After a terror attack in northwestern China, mourners left flowers at the scene and citizens took to social media and called for an evening protest. The government saw this as a threat.

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Malaysia Releases Satellite Data From Missing Jetliner

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 05:35

Malaysia Airlines Flight 370 communicated with satellites as it flew across the Indian Ocean. Malaysia, however, is facing criticism for leaving out some information.

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Soldiers Arrest Thai Politician As He Speaks Out Against Coup

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 05:27

A former minister of Thailand's ousted cabinet was detained Tuesday at a news conference. The arrest comes as ousted Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra is released.

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A Meaty Offer: Pilgrim's Pride Offers $5.58 Billion For Hillshire Brands

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 05:17

Pilgrim's Pride said the deal would create a "protein-focused company." The offer also puts Hillshire Brands' own intent to buy Pinnacle Foods in limbo.

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Fixing the VC gender gap

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-05-27 04:35

Innovation requires brains, but also requires money -- and the early money often comes from venture capitalists. But all too often minority and women innovators miss out on venture capital funding.

Jules Pieri, found and CEO of the product launch platform, The Grommet, sees a bias in the system, but she also sees a simple, practical solution. Pieri calls her idea “Title IX for business.” In short, remove the lucrative carried interest tax loophole from any venture firms that do not fund women’s businesses proportionate to men's.

Pieri joins Marketplace Morning Report host David Brancaccio to discuss. Click on the audio player above to hear more. 

Book News: U.K. Plan To Cut American Lit From Tests Prompts Fierce Backlash

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 04:31

A push to protect To Kill A Mockingbird. Also: Notable books coming out this week include a wildly original collection of poetry and a terrible, horrible, no good, very bad thriller.

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Heroin, opiate addicts find it tough to get treatment

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-05-27 04:07

Sheryl Santiago's son, Erik, was addicted to pills he'd been prescribed for anxiety and depression.

But when he finally decided to quit, he learned that asking for help and getting it can be two very different things.

"As soon as he contacted [a treatment facility], he thought he could go that night,” Santiago recalled. “He was ready to go and then he just got more and more discouraged."

Erik didn't have health insurance, and neither he nor his parents could afford the private facilities, where a month of treatment can cost as much as $30,000. So the first step for the family was to purchase insurance for Erik.

"When we got the insurance, they only covered a couple places, and they had waiting lists," she said.

A few weeks later, Erik was moved off the waitlist at a local treatment facility in Ocean County, N.J. However, he had been trying to stop using drugs on his own while he waited for help, and the program he was accepted into was the kind of place that helps patients detox with the assistance of medication. Like many facilities of this type, it required potential patients to be active drug users to get treatment -- to actually fail a drug test.

"He told me, he goes, 'Don't be mad at me if I use something because I have to test dirty in order to go into their program,'” said Santiago. “And he did, he must have used whatever he was using prior — the dosage — and it was too much."

Santiago said Erik had been clean for four weeks before he overdosed and died. In that time, his body may have lost some of its tolerance for the drug.

He had just turned 31 when he died, so it's hard not to play a game of “what-ifs?” but Santiago believes her son would still be here today if he'd gotten into a program right away.

"There's not enough beds, there's not enough providers,” confirmed Bruno Silie, a health educator who helps place addicts in treatment facilities at a drop-in center run by the South Jersey AIDS Alliance in Atlantic City, N.J.

"There's options, but the waiting period is ridiculous,” he added. “I've had clients wait for 60-plus days, and by that time they've given up."

"You really have to strike when the iron's hot," said Kimberly Reilly, the alcohol and drug coordinator in Ocean County, N.J. "So if someone comes to us and says I'm motivated for treatment, you really want to get them in, really, within that hour, because the next hour they could be off looking for their next hit of heroin."

There are simply not enough beds to meet New Jersey’s growing demand for substance abuse treatment. Statewide, admissions are up nearly 40 percent since 2006. As the state diverts more nonviolent drug users to treatment over prison, the waiting lists are even more of an issue.

Increasingly, people are seeking treatment for heroin and opiate additions. In Ocean County, half the admissions last year were for heroin. It's cheap and easily accessible, so many users turn to the drug after getting addicted to prescription pills, such as OxyContin.

The situation in New Jersey is mirrored across the country, according to Roseanne Scotti, director of the Drug Policy Alliance in New Jersey.

Scotti noted the Affordable Care Act will eventually add coverage for many people with mental health and substance abuse issues. The Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration estimates that the ACA will eventually extend coverage to approximately 11 million people with behavioral health conditions, which include mental health and substance use issues.

Without significant expansion of treatment options, that expansion may create additional backlogs.

“In some states, like New Jersey, there just isn’t the infrastructure, at this point,” said Scotti. “There’s going to have to be new facilities, new providers, new licensed addiction counselors, and that’s going to take a while to ramp up.”

In addition to expanded access to insurance, other factors – like the aging population, the high turnover of substance abuse counselors, and better medical screening for addition – affect the availability of treatment options, according to Andrea Kopstein, a division director in SAMHSA’s Center for Substance Abuse Treatment.

Kopstein says the Obama administration is making a “significant investment” in both the number of treatments slots and to expand the number of professionals working in the field, SAMHSA was unable to specify how much. The most recent figure available on U.S. spending for substance abuse was $24 billion in 2009. 

Rising risk in mortgage market

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2014-05-27 03:59

A new report from the American Enterprise Institute suggests that home-buyers are more likely to default on new mortgages.

The mortgages were subjected to a stress test. Under the worst case scenario, an increasing percentage of the loans would fall into foreclosure.

But when considered historically, housing consultant Thomas Lawler says new mortgages are, “Substantially lower in terms of overall risk than any time in 20 plus years.”

Lawler says the risk of another all-out housing crisis is much lower because fewer mortgages are backed with borrowed money.

Ukraine Retakes Airport, After Airstrikes And Dozens Of Deaths

NPR News - Tue, 2014-05-27 03:52

Violent clashes erupted Monday and Tuesday; at least 35 people have died. Government forces launched an operation at the airport one day after Ukraine's national elections.

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