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Controversial tool emerges in opioid fight: fentanyl test strips

A controversial tool has emerged in the fight against opioid overdose deaths. It’s a strip that allows people who use street drugs such as cocaine and heroin to test whether their drugs are laced with fentanyl.


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A New Tool to Disarm Domestic Abusers

Chnika Clark had made a fresh start for herself and her child. After years of dealing with her partner’s manipulative behavior and infidelity, she had finally had enough. She broke up with him, moved into her own place and got a new job.

Everything was going well—until she woke up in the middle of the night on November 18, 2014. Her ex was standing over her and pointing a gun at her head. Over the next several hours, he threatened her, tied her up, hit her and raped her. He demanded to know the name of the man she was seeing; when she told him she wasn’t seeing anyone, he became even more enraged.

In the early hours of the morning, he shot her in the leg and the chest before shooting and killing himself. Clark was bleeding profusely and transported to the hospital. Though the doctors initially thought she wouldn’t make it, she survived her injuries.

Clark calls her recovery “miraculous;” indeed, many women in the United States do not survive such abuse. Guns and domestic violence are a deadly combination. Every 16 hours, an American woman is shot and killed by her intimate partner, and more than half of all women murdered in the United States are killed by an intimate partner with a gun.

A collaborative art installation of shoes was displayed in the UK to remember the 100+ women who have lost their lives this year as a result of domestic violence. Each pair of shoes represented a women who has lost their life as a result of gender based violence in 2018. In the U.S., loopholes in existing gun laws allow abusers to obtain firearms, putting their partners at extreme risk of injury and death. (Newcastle / Creative Commons)

Though the gun lobby often tries to tell women that guns will protect them from abusers, the facts tell a different story. The chance of being murdered by an abusive partner actually increases five-fold when there is a gun in the home, and even when guns aren’t discharged, abusers frequently use firearms to threaten, manipulate and control their victims.

Policies that prohibit abusers from purchasing or possessing guns are effective at reducing intimate partner homicide, but laws regarding firearm removal often vary dramatically between states, and it can be difficult for survivors and those assisting them to know what removal laws exist in their states.

That’s where Disarm Domestic Violence comes in.

Disarm Domestic Violence—the product of a collaboration between the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence, National Coalition Against Domestic Violence (NCADV), the Alliance for Gun Responsibility, and Prosecutors Against Gun Violence (PAGV)—demystifies state laws around domestic violence restraining order firearm removal. The user-friendly portal, which features interactive map that allows users to view laws state-by-state, is a one-stop shop for survivors and advocates alike looking to strengthen the laws in place to protect women from violent abusers.

We have lost too many people to intimate partner homicide committed with firearms. We have seen too many people terrorized by abusers with guns. Stories like Clark’s remind us that everyday gun violence—the kind that happens behind closed doors, in neighborhoods and even in public places—is an urgent threat to our society’s well-being.

We believe that no one should have to navigate this process alone, and that no one should have to live in fear. Legislators, journalists, survivors and their allies deserve accessible information about the firearm removal process—and it is our hope that Disarm Domestic Violence can provide much-needed information and empower the activists working to take guns out of the hands of abusers.

Kelly Roskam is the legal director for the Educational Fund to Stop Gun Violence.

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New Alexa tool helps women check for signs of breast cancer

Still don’t know what to look out for when it comes to breast cancer? Fear not because leading charity Breast Cancer Care has teamed up with Amazon’s virtual assistant Alexa to share potentially life-saving information on the signs and symptoms of breast cancer. Alexa will now be able to guide women through a breast check,…
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This Tool Will Tell You if Your Grocery Spending Is Actually Normal

Setting a monthly or weekly food budget can feel like a brain teaser.

How much did you spend last week? Is that normal for you? What did you get for the money? Is that a reasonable amount to spend? Is there a cheaper grocery store you should be going to? Is there room to cut back?

The list of questions to ask yourself can feel endless. And then there’s the work of actually sticking to the budget once it’s set. It can feel easier to just give up on the budget altogether.

But there’s a free resource from the U.S. Department of Agriculture that takes some of the guesswork out of it.

Each month, the department releases an updated breakdown of how much individuals and families should expect to spend on groceries at different budgets.

According to a 2007 report, the numbers provided by the USDA are based on how much people spend at the grocery store and assumes they cook all their meals at home. So your numbers will vary based on how much you eat at restaurants.

Note that while income plays a role in how much people spend on food, the USDA’s budget groups are based on spending habits, not income.

Here’s How Much the Most Frugal Grocery Shoppers Spend

On the low end of the spending spectrum are the “thrifty” and “low-cost” plans.

According to the USDA, the thrifty plan is a benchmark for people on the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the government program that provides low-income people with money to spend on food. This group represents the 25% of the country that spends the least on food.

The next 25% of the country is represented in the low-cost plan. Here, a single person between age 19 and 50 would be expected to spend between $ 48.20 and $ 55.50 at the grocery store each week.

Alternatively, a family of four — a man, a woman and two children between ages 2 and 5 — would spend around $ 166 each week or $ 719.10 each month.

Here’s How Much Big Spenders Drop On Groceries

The 50% of us who spend the most on groceries fall into the “moderate” and “liberal” categories.

Under the moderate plan, a person between 19 and 50 years old can expect to spend between $ 59.10 and $ 69.50 each week, while the liberal plan allots between $ 75.70 and $ 85.30 for people in the same age group.

Families of four with young children are expected to spend $ 204.90 or $ 253.90 per week for the moderate and liberal plans, respectively.

Overspending on groceries? Here are some tips that will help you stretch your grocery budget further.

Desiree Stennett (@desi_stennett) is a senior writer at The Penny Hoarder.

The Penny Hoarder Promise: We provide accurate, reliable information. Here’s why you can trust us and how we make money.

This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.


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This New Tool Can Help Parents Find the Best Sport for Their Kids

Kids these days: they have so many options when it comes to sports. There are organized travel teams, it seems, for every game: soccer, lacrosse, hoops, the works. While a child’s decision about which sport to play might not be as formative as, say, picking a college, it can sure feel that way. And potentially cost as much: fees and travel expenses for some club teams skyrocket to $ 10,000 per year and beyond.

In trying to navigate today’s youth sports scene, any guidance helps. That’s why a new tool released Thursday by the Aspen Institute’s Sports & Society Program, called the Healthy Sport Index, couldn’t be more timely. The handy website allows families to weigh three factors in deciding what sport makes the most sense: safety, physical activity, and the sport’s psychosocial benefits. The index then provides a customized ranking of ten sports, based on where a child lands on a sliding scale of “low emphasis” to “high emphasis” for each of the three factors.

So say, for example, your son wants to put maximum emphasis on psychosocial benefits: he wants a sport that will help him develop social skills, cognitive skills, and otherwise enhance his mental health. He cares about a sport’s safety, but is willing to take some injury risk; so here, he falls in the middle of the scale. But he’s ambivalent about physical activity: your son doesn’t care how much energy he expends in practice. He gives it the lowest possible emphasis on the Heathy Sport Index scale. Based on this mix, the Healthy Sport Index puts swimming on top, while lacrosse comes in tenth.

Meanwhile, your daredevil daughter can care less about getting hurt, but places the highest possible emphasis on working out hard while playing her sport and developing useful life skills, like setting goals. Healthy Sport Index says: sign her up for tennis! (Cheerleading falls to the bottom here. The ten girls’ sports ranked by the Healthy Sport Index are basketball, cheerleading, cross country, lacrosse, soccer, softball, swimming, tennis, track and field, and volleyball. For the boys it’s baseball, basketball, cross country, football, lacrosse, soccer, swimming, tennis, track and field, and wrestling.)

The Aspen Institute, in consultation with medical experts, compiled data for the index from a variety of sources. The National High School Sports-Related Injury Surveillance Study, produced by the Colorado School of Public Health, provided injury rates for various sports. For the psychosocial component, the Aspen Institute surveyed almost 1,300 high school athletes from across the country, and asked students whether their sport helped them improve in areas like sharing responsibility and patience. Researchers from North Carolina State University observed almost 700 hours of varsity practices to document the physical activity levels of each high school sport. The architects of the index were keen to account for the positive benefits of different sports, to counterbalance the downside risks.

“We talk a lot about injuries in youth sports, for good reason,” says Dr. Neeru Jayanthi, director of sports medicine research at Emory University. “But it’s important to look at all aspects of the athletic experience. If you just focus on one, you’re missing the boat.”

For example, football, which has witnessed participation declines due to well-founded worries about head injuries, ranks second among boys’ sports for psychosocial benefits. (Soccer comes in first.) High school football players reported more improvements in social skills and cognitive skills than athletes in any of the nine other sports. The Aspen Institute’s research was less encouraging for, say, boy’s lacrosse, which ranked ninth in safety, ahead of just football, and tenth in psychosocial benefits. Lacrosse players were most likely to cut class, binge drink, use marijuana and smoke cigarettes. In girls’ sports, basketball provided the most psychosocial upside, whereas cheerleading ranked tenth on both the psychosocial and physical activity scales.

Not that cheerleading or lacrosse or any other sport are at all detrimental, say the creators of the Healthy Sport Index. Every activity can have a positive impact on a kid’s life. “It’s better to be playing a sport,” says Jon Solomon, editorial director for the Aspen’s Sports & Society Program, “than to be sitting on the couch all day doing nothing.”

Sports – TIME

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