A nonprofit publication of the Kentucky Center for Public Service Journalism

Boys’ suicides increased after release of ’13 Reasons Why’; third season prompts warnings for all families

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News The rate of suicide among 10- to 17-year-olds in the U.S. increased 29% in the months after the Netflix show “13 Reasons Why” was first telecast in March 2017, according to a federal study. Statistically, boys were responsible for the increase. The rate for girls increased, but the rise was not statistically significant, said a news release from...

Bevin says he exposed his kids to chickenpox, rejecting vaccinations; health officials say that’s risky

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Gov. Matt Bevin said in a radio interview that he exposed his nine children to chickenpox instead of vaccinating them, a practice that is strongly opposed by health officials as risky. Bevin also cast doubt on longstanding government policy of requiring vaccinations and incorrectly attributed the requirement to the federal government rather than the state. His...

‘Broken Promise’ report shows states spend too little of settlement money on smoking prevention

The Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids and others have issued a 20th annual report, Broken Promises to our Children, which details how states are spending revenues from both tobacco taxes and tobacco company payments made as part of a 1998 settlement agreement. This report is issued by the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society Cancer Action Network, American...

Kentucky’s Hepatitis outbreak worst in nation, but fading in Louisville, the ‘gold standard’ for response

Kentucky’s hepatitis A outbreak is now the biggest outbreak in the United States. As of July 7, the outbreak had struck 65 of Kentucky’s 120 counties with 1,094 hepatitis A cases and eight deaths. But federal officials say Louisville is a national example for how to respond to an outbreak, reports Phillip M. Bailey of the Courier Journal. As of July 17, Louisville had 540 cases and four deaths....

Growing abuse of prescription painkillers also causes state to see increase in hepatitis, HIV

From Kentucky Health News The growing use of heroin and the abuse of prescription painkillers in Kentucky also mean that the state “is being ravaged by the diseases that follow in their wake: hepatitis and HIV. These dangers also reach far beyond addicts and their families, threatening a wide swath of the population,” Laura Ungar reports for The Courier-Journal. Kentucky has one-fourth...

Kentucky has nation’s fourth highest painkiller prescription rate, officials call for limits

Kentucky has the nation’s fourth highest rate of painkiller prescriptions, at about 130 prescriptions for every 100 people, Christine Vestal reports for Stateline. The high rate of painkiller prescriptions is being blamed on a rising rate of overdose deaths, leading health and government officials in many states to call for a limit on the number and strength of painkiller pills prescribed by...

Teenagers’ use of electronic cigarettes triples, officials place blame on unrestricted advertisements

By Melissa Patrick Kentucky Health News Teenagers’ use of electronic cigarettes tripled between 2013 and 2014, surpassing the use of all tobacco products, and federal officials are blaming unrestricted advertisement of the products. Seven out of 10 middle-school and high-school students (69 percent) say they’ve seen e-cigarette ads in stores, online or in other media, with most of the ads...