Category Archives: health policy

The innocents in Maine’s drug crisis: Almost 1,000 Maine babies exposed in the womb

A one-month-old baby cries in July 2013 at Eastern Maine Medical Center, where Dr. Mark Brown treats drug-affected newborns. Brian Feulner | BDN

Eight percent of all babies born in Maine during the last fiscal year entered the world affected by drugs. That’s nearly 1,000 infants exposed to drugs in the womb, the highest number on record and a more than fivefold increase since 2006. This chart reflects instances where health care providers reported to the state that they had reasonable cause to […]

Are parents refusing vaccines at your child’s school? Now you can check.

For the first time in Maine, parents can easily look up vaccination rates at their local elementary school. The Maine Center for Disease Control publicly released the data for the 2014-15 school year, revealing how many children were exempted from school-required vaccines — and for what reasons — in kindergarten and first-grade classes. The data also show […]

Did legalizing medical pot save some Mainers from prescription painkiller deaths?

Hundreds attended the Home Grown Maine Medical Marijuana Trade Show in Bangor in April 2014. Brian Feulner| BDN

Maine knows all too well the potential dangers of narcotic painkillers. Many a journey down the dark path of addiction begins with a prescription for Vicodin, oxycodone or similar medications, though heroin has taken center stage in Maine’s battle against drug abuse. But could another drug hold answers to preventing overdose deaths? In Maine and a […]

A Maine student’s homework, brought to you by Oreo

A Maine student's homework sheet. Source: Maine Public Health Association

Ladies and gentlemen, a Maine student’s opinions about snow — brought to you by Oreo. You don’t often see a child’s schoolwork sponsored by a multinational cookie brand. But food marketers regularly advertise to students in Maine schools using less overt tactics, according to Tina Pettingill of the Maine Public Health Association. She used the Oreo worksheet, passed […]

As Maine weighs e-cigarette limits, ‘vaping’ among U.S. teens triples

E-cigarette companies are not yet subject to the same marketing restrictions as traditional cigarette companies. (Courtesy Fotolia | TNS)

Add this to the list of electronics consuming teenagers’ attention: cigarettes. Use of electronic cigarettes tripled among American middle and high school students over the course of just one year, from 2013 to 2014, according to new data released by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. The statistics come as many states, including Maine, seek limits on the devices […]

How to choose a primary care doctor in Maine


Do you have a primary care doctor? The Affordable Care Act relies on the trusted family doctor to help transform the country’s health care system. Along with boosting Medicare and Medicaid payments to primary care providers and investing in their work force, health reform puts primary care doctors and nurses at the heart of efforts to improve care while lowering costs. […]