Pubdate: Wed, 12 Jul 2017
Source: Houston Chronicle (TX)
Copyright: 2017 Houston Chronicle Publishing Company Division, Hearst 
Author: Jenny Deam


Rice University's Baker Institute for Public Policy has received a $3
million donation to endow a fellow in drug policy to provide objective
scientific research in the highly charged political arena of drug
addiction, university officials announced Wednesday.

Katharine Neill Harris, who currently holds a post-doctoral fellowship
in drug policy at the Baker Institute, will become the Alfred C.
Glassell III Fellow in Drug Policy.

The money to fund her new position comes from the Glassell Family
Foundation led by Houston philanthropist Alfred C. Glassell III.

The Drug Policy Program provides comprehensive analysis of issues and
trends that touch drug policy. That could mean looking at drug
addiction or the decriminalization of marijuana and how those issues
influence policymakers and affect the public. In her new position,
Harris will build research models and work with local and
international institutions.

"Drug policy is a critical issue at the federal, state and local
levels," Baker Institute director Edward Djerejian said in a
statement, adding that his institute can provide nonpartisan analysis
and recommendations on the red-hot issues surrounding drug abuse and

Recently, Texas Attorney General Ken Paxton joined a group of state
attorneys general who are investigating the marketing and sales of
prescription painkillers, as they work to determine whether drugmakers
have broken any laws amid a nationwide epidemic of opioid addiction.

Texas doctors, according to a recent report by the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention, hand out far fewer addictive
painkillers than most other states. In parts of the Midwest, the
Florida Gulf Coast, Appalachia and even the Pacific Northwest,
per-capita opioid prescription rates are more than double the rate
recorded in Texas, the report found.

Other reports by the CDC have shown that Texas also has fewer
opiod-related hospitalizations than other states.

Still, health experts warn that despite what appears to be good news
for the state, the statistics alone can misleading. They cite a
variety of factors that could be contributing include a lack of access
to health care and prescribed medications and even warm weather, which
could mean fewer people suffer from arthritis and are given

But just because the state's numbers are not as grim as others does
not mean a problem does not exist, the health experts said.
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