What We're Reading: EPA Rule Expands Limitations on Science; Cannabis-Based Medicine; Mental Health Care for Teens

November 12, 2019

EPA's new draft of their science transparency rule expands limitations on the use of science for agency rulemaking; cannabis-based medicine approved by National Health Service in England and Wales; medical care for mental health is expanding among adolescents.

EPA Proposal Seeks to Limit Science Used to Write Public Health Rules

Cannabis-Based Medicine Approved in England and Wales

Medical Care for Mental Health Issues Increasing Among Adolescents

A new draft of a science transparency rule from the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) states that public health studies must first release their raw scientific data in order to be considered in all EPA rulemakings, a move that could potentially further limit the use of science in agency rulemaking. The Hill reports that the draft is an expansion from previous drafts of the formally titled Strengthening Transparency in Regulatory Science rule, also known as the “secret science” rule. A previous version of the rule would have only applied to a small section of public health research, known as “dose-response” studies, but the expansion would request raw data for nearly every study the EPA considers in rulemaking; and make it apply to studies used for rules already in force when they come up for renewal. EPA officials say it will make the data within scientific studies more publicly transparent, although critics say it will make many studies unusable.Yesterday, the National Health Service in England and Wales approved 3 treatments using medical cannabis, according to The New York Times. The milestone decision comes 1 year after then British home secretary Sajid Javid said that some doctors could legally prescribe the drug in special cases. The marijuana-based medicines must be initially prescribed by specialist doctors and will be restricted to treatments for 1 of 2 rare forms of epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, or chemotherapy-induced vomiting and nausea.From 2012 to 2018, California emergency rooms have had a 42% increase in the treatment of young patients ages 13 to 21 who had a primary diagnosis involving mental health, according to Kaiser Health News. Less than a decade ago, Rady Children’s Hospital in San Diego reported seeing solely 1 or 2 young psychiatric patients in its emergency department (ED) per day, but now it is not unusual for their ED to see 10, and sometimes 20, psychiatric patients each day, said Benjamin Maxwell, MD, interim director of child and adolescent psychiatry at Rady Children’s Hospital. The spike in youth mental health visits corresponds with a survey that found members of Generation Z, those born since 1997, to be more likely than other generations to report their mental health as fair or poor.