Concept: Federal Bureau of Investigation
Prior research suggests that United States governmental sources documenting the number of law-enforcement-related deaths (i.e., fatalities due to injuries inflicted by law enforcement officers) undercount these incidents. The National Vital Statistics System (NVSS), administered by the federal government and based on state death certificate data, identifies such deaths by assigning them diagnostic codes corresponding to “legal intervention” in accordance with the International Classification of Diseases-10th Revision (ICD-10). Newer, nongovernmental databases track law-enforcement-related deaths by compiling news media reports and provide an opportunity to assess the magnitude and determinants of suspected NVSS underreporting. Our a priori hypotheses were that underreporting by the NVSS would exceed that by the news media sources, and that underreporting rates would be higher for decedents of color versus white, decedents in lower versus higher income counties, decedents killed by non-firearm (e.g., Taser) versus firearm mechanisms, and deaths recorded by a medical examiner versus coroner.
In the United States, state firearm ownership has been correlated with homicide rates. More than 90% of homicides of law enforcement officers (LEOs) are committed with firearms. We examined the relationship between state firearm ownership rates and LEO occupational homicide rates.
Although nearly all domain experts agree that carbon dioxide emissions are altering the world’s climate, segments of the public remain unconvinced by the scientific evidence. Internet blogs have become a platform for denial of climate change, and bloggers have taken a prominent role in questioning climate science. We report a survey of climate-blog visitors to identify the variables underlying acceptance and rejection of climate science. Our findings parallel those of previous work and show that endorsement of free-market economics predicted rejection of climate science. Endorsement of free markets also predicted the rejection of other established scientific findings, such as the facts that HIV causes AIDS and that smoking causes lung cancer. We additionally show that, above and beyond endorsement of free markets, endorsement of a cluster of conspiracy theories (e.g., that the Federal Bureau of Investigation killed Martin Luther King, Jr.) predicted rejection of climate science as well as other scientific findings. Our results provide empirical support for previous suggestions that conspiratorial thinking contributes to the rejection of science. Acceptance of science, by contrast, was strongly associated with the perception of a consensus among scientists.
The proportion of US food that is imported is increasing; most seafood and half of fruits are imported. We identified a small but increasing number of foodborne disease outbreaks associated with imported foods, most commonly fish and produce. New outbreak investigation tools and federal regulatory authority are key to maintaining food safety.
In March and October 2015, the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and CDC issued nationwide alerts identifying fentanyl, particularly illicitly manufactured fentanyl (IMF), as a threat to public health and safety (1,2). IMF is pharmacologically similar to pharmaceutical fentanyl (PF), but is unlawfully produced in clandestine laboratories, obtained via illicit drug markets, and includes fentanyl analogs. Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid 50-100 times more potent than morphine and approved for the management of surgical/postoperative pain, severe chronic pain, and breakthrough cancer pain.* DEA’s National Forensic Laboratory Information System (NFLIS) collects drug identification results from drug cases analyzed by federal, state, and local forensic laboratories throughout the United States.(†) In 2014, 80% of fentanyl submissions (i.e., drug products obtained by law enforcement that tested positive for fentanyl) in NFLIS were identified from 10 states, including Florida and Ohio (2), and seven of these 10 states reported sharp increases in fentanyl-related overdose deaths (fentanyl deaths) (3). This report presents findings of increased fentanyl deaths during 2013-2015 from investigations conducted by the University of Florida and the Ohio Department of Public Health, in collaboration with CDC. Analyses examined the association between trends in fentanyl-related law enforcement submissions and fentanyl deaths and describes groups at risk for fentanyl death using medical examiner and coroner reports. The marked increases in fentanyl death in Florida and Ohio during 2013-2015 were closely associated with parallel increases in fentanyl submissions, with the largest impact on persons who use heroin, consistent with reports that IMF is commonly mixed with or sold as heroin (1,4). In Ohio, circumstances associated with fentanyl deaths included a current diagnosed mental health disorder(§) and recent release from an institution such as a jail, rehabilitation facility, or hospital.
Stroke is among the leading causes of disability and death in the United States, and nearly 7 million adults are currently alive after experiencing a stroke. Although the risks associated with having a stroke are well established, we know surprisingly little about how marital status influences survival in adults with this condition. This study is the first prospective investigation of how marital history is related to survival after stroke in the United States.
National medical organizations recommend that during prenatal counseling sessions, healthcare providers discuss how having a child with Down syndrome (DS) might impact the family unit. Few studies, to date, have surveyed families about their life experiences. For this investigation, we examined 41 family attitudes, which were obtained from mailed questionnaires completed by 1,961 parents/guardians, 761 brothers/sisters, and 283 people with DS who were members of six DS non-profit organizations, chosen for their size, ethnic/racial diversities, and geographic distribution throughout the United States. About 83% of families reported to all being proud of the family member with DS, and 87% reported to all feeling love for the member with DS. Younger siblings (ages 9-11) were more likely to feel embarrassed by their sibling with DS if their parents/guardians also did. If one or more parents/guardians felt that their children without DS did have a good relationship with their child with DS, siblings were more likely to report that they loved and liked their brother/sister with DS. Overall, our data demonstrate that positive themes tend to dominate within modern-day families who have members with DS, although challenges were not insignificant for some. © 2015 Wiley Periodicals, Inc.
We assessed 12-month prevalence and incidence data on sexual victimization in 5 federal surveys that the Bureau of Justice Statistics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation conducted independently in 2010 through 2012. We used these data to examine the prevailing assumption that men rarely experience sexual victimization. We concluded that federal surveys detect a high prevalence of sexual victimization among men-in many circumstances similar to the prevalence found among women. We identified factors that perpetuate misperceptions about men’s sexual victimization: reliance on traditional gender stereotypes, outdated and inconsistent definitions, and methodological sampling biases that exclude inmates. We recommend changes that move beyond regressive gender assumptions, which can harm both women and men.
The World Health Organization classifies methadone as an essential medicine, yet methadone maintenance therapy remains widely unavailable in criminal justice settings throughout the United States. Methadone maintenance therapy is often terminated at the time of incarceration, with inmates forced to withdraw from this evidence-based therapy. We assessed whether these forced withdrawal policies deter opioid-dependent individuals in the community from engaging methadone maintenance therapy in two states that routinely force inmates to withdraw from methadone (N=205). Nearly half of all participants reported that concern regarding forced methadone withdrawal during incarceration deterred them engaging methadone maintenance therapy in the community. Participants in the state where more severe methadone withdrawal procedures are used during incarceration were more likely to report concern regarding forced withdrawal as a treatment deterrent. Methadone withdrawal policies in the criminal justice system may be a broader treatment deterrent for opioid-dependent individuals than previously realized. Redressing this treatment barrier is both a health and human rights imperative.
Objectives. We examined the relationship between gun ownership and stranger versus nonstranger homicide rates. Methods. Using data from the Supplemental Homicide Reports of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Uniform Crime Reports for all 50 states for 1981 to 2010, we modeled stranger and nonstranger homicide rates as a function of state-level gun ownership, measured by a proxy, controlling for potential confounders. We used a negative binomial regression model with fixed effects for year, accounting for clustering of observations among states by using generalized estimating equations. Results. We found no robust, statistically significant correlation between gun ownership and stranger firearm homicide rates. However, we found a positive and significant association between gun ownership and nonstranger firearm homicide rates. The incidence rate ratio for nonstranger firearm homicide rate associated with gun ownership was 1.014 (95% confidence interval = 1.009, 1.019). Conclusions. Our findings challenge the argument that gun ownership deters violent crime, in particular, homicides. (Am J Public Health. Published online ahead of print August 14, 2014: e1-e8. doi:10.2105/AJPH.2014.302042).