Posts tagged with "public health crisis"

Empowering women by Heather Skovlund for 360 Magazine

Women Face A Myriad Of Injustices; Can A Better World Emerge?

By Andi Simon, Ph.D.

 

What does it say about our culture when moms and their children are facing unbearable pain and trauma during the pandemic? This crisis has amplified the way women in the U.S. are undervalued, or not valued at all. While it is widely known that America lags far behind all other industrialized countries in paid maternity leave, appropriate childcare and suitable work/life balance for mothers, the challenges of the current public health crisis have brought to the fore front the severity of these issues. Why, we must ask, do mothers have to disproportionately bear the burden of household work and care for family members? To add to the unfair burden of labor, women still earn 18% less than men, often with little or no employer or spousal support.

 

How can this be? What are we missing in this story?

 

As a corporate anthropologist who worked from the time my daughters were three weeks old (having obtained no paid leave then either), I have gotten past the anger and frustration. Like many women, I have accepted this as just the way it is. But, does the workplace have to continue to operate with these unfair standards?

 

Before the pandemic, women made up more than half the work force at 58%. This was the highest percentage of woman in the workplace than what had been observed for a long time. Yet 40% of children are born to single mothers. At the same time as the role of men as fathers and co-caregivers has shifted, so had the role of single mothers in the workplace. Only 69.6% of men are employed full-time, and 6.3% are unemployed (5.9 million), as of February 2021. The academic dropout rate for men is 20% higher than for women: 6.2% of men don’t complete high school and 58% who start college don’t complete a four-year program (48% at private institutions).

 

During the pandemic, 10 million jobs have been lost. Over half these positions were held by women, often women of color. In December 2020 alone, 140,000 jobs were eliminated– all of which had been held by women.

 

Women, on the other hand, have generated most of the new jobs since the 2008 recession.

 

Before the pandemic, women owned and ran 40% of the businesses in the U.S. Many of these businesses were second incomes. Others were necessity businesses–from hair salons to “solopreneurs”–trying to thrive in a gig economy that, since 2019, has grown to encompass one third of the workforce.

 

To add one more injustice, our healthcare system is among the world’s worst for women.

 

US women have the highest maternal mortality rate among 11 developed countries. Women in the US also have one of the highest rates of c-sections. US women also face the greatest burden of illness, highest rates of skipping needed healthcare because of cost, most difficulty affording healthcare, and report the least satisfaction with their quality of care. One in three women in the US report having emotional distress. Clearly, we need to transform the US healthcare experience quickly into one that cares about womens health.

 

When will men, who have the power to change our society, recognize the pain they are creating for women?

 

When you add it all up, women seem like superheroes. They attempt to achieve work-life balance. They worry about childcare and parent care. They try to build careers and grow businesses, often with family and friends as the major source of funding. They strive to provide healthy, safe environments for their families, sometimes with little or no help. Is this as good as it gets for women?

 

I venture to guess that no, it can get better. It will get better. It must get better. How? By all of us–women and men­–fighting for a new, improved normal. By refusing to accept defeat, women can make a change.

 

About Andi Simon

Andi Simon, Ph.D, author of Rethink: Smashing the Myths of Women in Business, is an international leader in the emerging field of corporate anthropology and founder and CEO of Simon Associates Management Consultants. A trained practitioner in Blue Ocean Strategy, Simon has conducted over 400 workshops and speeches on the topic as well as consulted with a wide range of clients across the globe. She also is the author of the award-winning book On the Brink: A Fresh Lens to Take Your Business to New Heights. Simon has a successful podcast, On the Brink with Andi Simon, that has more than 125,000 monthly listeners, and is ranked among the top 20 Futurist podcasts and top 200 business podcasts for entrepreneurs. In addition, Global Advisory Experts named Simons’ firm the Corporate Anthropology Consultancy Firm of the Year in New York – 2020. She has been on Good Morning, America and Bloomberg, and is widely published in the Washington Post, Los Angeles Times, Forbes, Business Week, Becker’s, and American Banker, among others. She has been a guest blogger for Forbes.com, Huffington Post, and Fierce Health.

Opioid Crisis Takes a Turn with Death of Founder

By: Elle Grant

The opioid epidemic is one of the great public health crises facing the United States today. Over the past two decades, the crisis has ebbed and flowed in different moments, but overall deaths, especially amongst younger people, have increased at an alarming rate. One of the most distinct drugs at the root of the problem is OxyContin from the company Purdue Pharma, a substance now known to be distinctly addictive and dangerous.

OxyContin, also known on the street as killers, OC, Oxy, poor man’s heroin or Oxycotton, is dangerous particularly due to its most active ingredient; “a 12-hour, time-released form of oxycodone, a synthetic form of morphine that is found in common painkillers like Percodan and Percocet.” Alarmingly, OxyContin can have as much as ten times the amount of oxycodone as an average Percodan or Percocet. Approved by the FDA in 1995, the National Institute on Drug Abuse asserts the “chronic use of drugs such as OxyContin can lead to physical dependence and severe withdrawal symptoms if use is stopped, including insomnia, diarrhea, vomiting, cold flashes with goose bumps, and involuntary leg movements. Large doses can cause severe, potentially fatal, respiratory depression.” Intended to be taken orally, many patients and addicts chose to inject or snort the pills (after being modified) to quicken and heighten the effects. Oxycodone is intensely addictive, requiring more frequent and stronger doses as the body becomes dependent.

Efforts were being made to hold OxyContin owners and Purdue Pharma executives accountable for their actions. Thousands of lawsuits had been filed against the Sackler family, one of America’s wealthiest with an estimated combined net worth of about $13 billion. One of the main pillars of the family was Jonathan Sackler, son of one of the three Sackler brothers that transformed the small drug company Purdue Frederick into a hugely profitable pharmaceutical firm. Sackler passed away on the June 30 due to cancer, complicating many of the lawsuits as he was often named a defendant. Other members of his family have been named other defendants, depending on the case.

The famed OxyContin pill launched in the mid-1990s and was continually and thoroughly promoted by the Connecticut based family. The members of the family are charged with the accusation that “eight people in a single family made the choices that caused much of the US opioid epidemic” due to an unethical, irresponsible, and often illegal scheme. Furthermore, “the actions of the Sackler family and Purdue Pharma included sharing studies that they knew were misleading, claiming that this was an effective, long-term treatment that didn’t give rise to risks of addiction,” Colorado Attorney General Phil Weiser told reporters at a news conference last year. “Those claims were verifiably false and ignored expert warnings. And they even undermined studies suggesting that there were addictive effects.”

Purdue as a company as well as the Sackler family deny any wrongdoing. Currently, Purdue seeks bankruptcy protection in order to counteract nearly 3,000 lawsuits that attribute blame to Purdue for beginning the opioid crisis. A Department of Justice criminal investigation is ongoing, relating to this process.

The opioid crisis, an epidemic that has spanned from 1999 to the present, has killed almost 500,000 individuals, potentially more. This count includes those that have died from an overdose involving an opioid, including both prescription and illicit opioids. Said epidemic can be characterized in three waves. The first beginning with the rise of prescribed opioids in the 1990s, including “natural and semi-synthetic opioids and methadone.” The second wave is marked by an increase of overdose deaths specifically related to heroin. The third commenced in 2013, with alarmingly stark increases in overdose deaths due to synthetic opioids, especially those “involving illicitly manufactured fentanyl” Unfortunately, “the market for illicitly manufactured fentanyl continues to change and it can be found in combination with heroin, counterfeit pills, and cocaine.”

Many Americans are unaware of the impact of the opioid crisis, or the fact that it is becoming increasingly, not decreasingly relevant to society. Yet, there are signs of positive change. Overall opioid-involved death rates decreased by 2% from 2017 to 2018, with sharper drops in prescription and heroin-involved deaths. Yet the increase in synthetic opioid-involved death rates increased by 10%, proving more work must be done to protect Americans. Currently, the Center for Disease Control combats this epidemic by monitoring trends, advancing research, equipping states with resources, supporting providers, partnering with public safety officials, and increasing public awareness.

Apart from crooked doctors, big pharmaceuticals, especially Jonathan Sackler, the Sackler family, and Purdue Pharma have received a majority of the blame for the epidemic. Jonathan Sackler’s death marks the death of who many see as a villain, but before justice was served in the American court system.

The opioid crisis, two decades in, has captivated the American imagination through film and media, as many crises often due. Netflix in particular has made efforts to document the crisis, including with the true crime series The Pharmacist and the limited series The Business of Drugs. Coming to Netflix next month is the long-awaited Hillbilly Elegy, starring Glenn Close and Amy Adams, both nominated for six Academy Awards each. The film lends a careful eye towards Appalachia, an area ravaged by the opioid epidemic, and features Adams in the role of a struggling addict. The film has already generated major Oscar buzz and will certainly bring further attention to a crucial issue.

Addiction is an incredibly difficult disease to combat. If you or a love one is struggling, please consider contacting the national hotline.

George Floyd illustrated by Mina Tocalini for 360 MAGAZINE.

George Floyd Family Suing

By Eamonn Burke

The family of George Floyd will sue the city of Minneapolis, claiming his rights were violated during his arrest, consequently allowing racism and brutality to fester in the city’s police force. This comes as newly released body cam footage clearly shows Floyd pleading with officers and telling them he cannot breathe. The lawsuit will target financial reparations for Floyd’s children and siblings.

The family’s attorney, Mr. Crump, is calling the murder of Floyd “torture” and calling the disproportionate killing of black people by police a “public health crisis”. He cites “deliberate indifference” from the city of Minneapolis on this issue.

“Everything seems to have stopped and got shut down in America during the coronavirus pandemic except racism and discrimination and police brutality against Black and brown people.” says Crump. “This is the tipping point for policing in America.”

Crump is hoping this case will set a precedent for future lawsuits by establishing the damaging financial repercussions that the wrongful killing of marginalized people can incur. Additionally, he anticipates major changes in policing, which have already begun as Minneapolis takes steps to abolish the police

Meanwhile, the killers of George Floyd – ex-officers Derek Chauvin, Alexander Kueng, Thomas Lane and Tou Thao – have all been charged with aiding and abetting in 2nd degree murder, and await their trial date on March 8, 2021. Their lawyer declined to comment on the topic.