The Final Star Wars Movie About The Skywalker Family Just Wrapped

JJ Abrams tweeted from the last day of principle photography on the set of the still untitled Episode 9 and the last that will feature members of the Skywalker family according to Disney.

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The tweet shows stars Daisy Ridley, John Boyega, and Oscar Isaac embracing in what appears to be Jakku home to Ridley’s Jedi protege character (and possible Skywalker?!) Rey.

Star Wars: Episode IX is to scheduled be released on Dec. 20, 2019.

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Sarah Sanders Tells CNN That Robert Mueller’s Team Has Interviewed Her

Sarah Sanders told CNN that special counsel Robert Mueller’s team has interviewed her.

“The President urged me, like he has everyone in the administration, to fully cooperate with the special counsel. I was happy to voluntarily sit down with them,” Sanders said in response to a question from CNN.

CNN says: “The interview is one of the final known interviews by Mueller’s team. While the substance of the interview with Sanders is unclear, one likely area of interest was how Sanders composed statements she made on the podium defending the President regarding the Russia investigation.”

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‘The Only National Emergency Is That Our President Is An Idiot’ Ann Coulter

Appearing on KABC radio in Los Angeles, Republican writer and pundit Ann Coulter — who recently surrendered support for Trump over his slowness to fulfill his border wall promise, said, “signing the congressional bill is a mistake that would ensure no wall would be built: “not a wall, not a prototype, but some bollard fencing with the approval of local officials.” The right-wing pundit added the President had the authority to build a wall all along and didn’t need Congress to do it according to Mediate.

“Forget the fact that he’s digging his own grave,” Coulter said. “The only national emergency is that our president is an idiot.”

Coulter seems to have cooled quite a bit on Trump but she’s been one of his biggest critics regarding the wall tweeting as recently as last night: The goal is to get Trump’s stupidest voters to say “HE’S FIGHTING!” No he’s not. If he signs this bill, it’s over.

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Trump meanwhile is pretending he doesn’t know her.

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At least two more years of this folks.

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NFL Settles With Colin Kaepernick

Colin Kaepernick’s attorney just tweeted a photo of a legal agreement that settles the case that began in 2016 when Kaepernick began kneeling during the national anthem to protest social and racial injustice particularly among young Black men

According to Page Six: The collusion case also included Kaepernick’s former teammate Eric Reid. The safety is back in the league after a hiatus, joining the Panthers last season and getting a three-year, $22 million contract from Carolina this offseason.

The Associated Press reported on Thursday that Kaepernick demanded a $20 million contract to play for the new Alliance of American Football league, which started last weekend. The amount was determined based on precedent: players earn $225,000 over three years in the AAF.

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Geragos and The NFL released a similar statement, citing a confidentiality agreement as to why no details would be given about the amount of the settlement.

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Rise In Meth Use Leads To Spike In Syphilis

Public health officials grappling with record-high syphilis rates around the nation have pinpointed what appears to be a major risk factor: drug use.

“Two major public health issues are colliding,” said Dr. Sarah Kidd, a medical officer at the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and lead author of a new report issued Thursday on the link between drugs and syphilis.

The report shows a large intersection between drug use and syphilis among women and heterosexual men. In those groups, reported use of methamphetamine, heroin and other injection drugs more than doubled from 2013 to 2017.

The data did not reveal the same increases in drug use among gay men with syphilis, the group with the highest rates of the disease.

Researchers said the results suggest that drug use — and the risky sexual behaviors associated with it — may be driving some of the increase in syphilis transmission among heterosexuals.

People who use drugs are more likely to engage in unsafe sexual behaviors, which put them at higher risk for sexually transmitted diseases, experts said. The CDC also saw increases in syphilis among heterosexuals during the crack cocaine epidemic of the 1980s and 1990s, and use of the drug was associated with higher syphilis transmission.

“The addiction takes over,” said Patricia Kissinger, an epidemiology professor at Tulane University School of Public Health and Tropical Medicine.

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For example, people using drugs may avoid condoms, have multiple sex partners or exchange sex for drugs or money — all significant risk factors for sexually transmitted diseases, said Dr. Sara Kennedy, medical director of Planned Parenthood Northern California.

“I think it’s impossible to eradicate syphilis and congenital syphilis unless we are simultaneously addressing the meth-use and IV-use epidemic,” Kennedy said.

Syphilis rates are setting records nationally. They jumped by 73 percent overall and 156 percent for women from 2013 to 2017. The highest rates were reported in Nevada, California and Louisiana.

Syphilis — which had been nearly eradicated before its resurgence in recent years — is treatable with antibiotics, but if left untreated it can lead to organ damage and even death. Congenital syphilis, which occurs when a mother passes the disease to her unborn baby, can lead to premature birth and newborn deaths.

The study’s authors analyzed syphilis cases from 2013 to 2017 and determined which patients had also reported using drugs. They discovered methamphetamine was the biggest problem: More than one-third of women and one-quarter of heterosexual men with syphilis reported using methamphetamine within the previous year.

Substance use among both populations was highest in 13 Western states and lowest in the Northeast. In California, methamphetamine use by people with syphilis nearly doubled for women and heterosexual men from 2013 to 2017, according to the California Department of Public Health.

The intersecting epidemics of sexually transmitted infections and substance abuse make it harder to identify and treat people with syphilis because drug use makes people less likely to go to the doctor and to report their sexual partners, Kidd said.

Pregnant women also may be reluctant to seek prenatal care and get syphilis testing and treatment because of concerns their doctor will report the drug use.

To stem the transmission of syphilis, the CDC urges more collaboration between programs that address STDs and programs that treat substances abuse.

Drug use is an “incredibly huge contributing factor” to somebody getting an STD and transmitting it, said Jennifer Howell, sexual health program coordinator for the health district in Washoe County, Nev.

“Everybody needs to see that we are dealing with a lot of the same clients,” she said.

Fresno County has the highest rate of congenital syphilis in California. Its health department analyzed 25 cases of congenital syphilis in 2017 and determined that more than two-thirds of the mothers were using drugs, said Joe Prado, the county’s community health division manager.

The county has started offering STD testing for people entering inpatient drug treatment facilities, Prado said. “That’s our opportunity to get them screened,” he said.

Those who return for the results are offered incentives such as gift cards. The county also gives people in drug treatment a care package that contains condoms and education materials about sexually transmitted infections, Prado said.

The city of Long Beach sends a mobile clinic to drug treatment facilities, where it provides HIV testing, said Dr. Anissa Davis, the city’s health officer. She said Long Beach hopes to expand services to include screening for other sexually transmitted infections.

Although increased collaboration between drug treatment providers and STD clinics is essential, it’s not always easy because they traditionally have not worked together, said Kissinger of Tulane.

“The STI people are hyperfocused on STIs and the substance abuse people are focused on substance abuse,” she said. It is an “opportunity lost” if people in drug treatment aren’t screened for syphilis and other sexually transmitted infections, she added.

Fighting the rising rates of syphilis will also require more resources, said Dr. Jeffrey Klausner, a professor of medicine and public health at UCLA.

“The STD workforce has almost entirely disappeared,” he said. “While policies could be put in place that require syphilis testing, those policies also have to come with resources.”

By Anna Gorman: agorman@kff.org, @AnnaGorman

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Two Detained Nigerian Brothers Are Now “Officially Suspects” In Smollett Attack Say Chicago PD

It’s been hard to keep up.

Chicago PD have announced that the two men questioned in the attack on actor Jussie Smollett are now “potential suspects,” and that detectives have “probable cause” that they may have committed a crime.

The statement, tweeted by police spokesman Anthony Guglielmi, did not say what charges the brothers, both in their 20s, could face says The Chicago Tribune.

“It’s unclear what the men could be charged with, however,” their attorney Gloria Schmidt, toldPage Six.

This comes is on the heels of a 48 hour media rollercoaster with numerous conflicting reports regarding the attack on Smollett—-reached peak rumor mill last night when multiple outlets began claiming that the Chicago Police Department were ready to say the Smollett attack was a hoax—pulled by Smollett and two friends because he was being written off of the hit FOX show Empire (which films in Chicago).

This led both FOX and the Chicago PD to issue very firm statements denying both rumors.

Tweeted Chicago PD spokesman Anthony Guglielmi: “Media reports anout (sic) the Empire incident being a hoax are unconfirmed by case detectives. Supt Eddie Johnson has contacted @ABC7Chicago to state on the record that we have no evidence to support their reporting and their supposed CPD sources are uninformed and inaccurate.”

Fox’s statement read: “The idea that Jussie Smollett has been, or would be, written off of ‘Empire’ is patently ridiculous. He remains a core player on this very successful series and we continue to stand behind him.”

CBS Chicago reported that there was a police raid at the home of the two persons of interest being questioned by Chicago Police.

According to the station the men were returning from a trip to Nigeria when they were detained—his lawyer Schmidt announced the pending arrests while maintaining their innocence .

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Discharged, Dismissed: ERs Often Miss Chance To Set Overdose Survivors On ‘Better Path’

The last time heroin landed Marissa Angerer in a Midland, Texas, emergency room — naked and unconscious — was May 2016. But that wasn’t her first drug-related interaction with the health system. Doctors had treated her a number of times before, either for alcohol poisoning or for ailments related to heavy drug use. Though her immediate, acute health issues were addressed in each episode, doctors and nurses never dealt with her underlying illness: addiction.

Angerer, now 36 and in recovery, had been battling substance use disorder since she started drinking alcohol at age 16. She moved onto prescription pain medication after she broke her ankle and then eventually to street opiates like heroin and fentanyl.

Just two months before that 2016 overdose, doctors replaced an infected heart valve, a byproduct of her drug use. She was discharged from the hospital and began using again the next day, leading to a reinfection that ultimately cost her all 10 toes and eight fingers.

“[The hospital] didn’t have any programs or anything to go to,” Angerer said. “It’s nobody’s fault but my own, but it definitely would have been helpful if I didn’t get brushed off.”

This scenario plays out in emergency departments across the country, where the next step — a means to divert addicted patients into treatment — remains elusive, creating a missed opportunity in the health system.

recent study of Medicaid claims in West Virginia, which has an opioid overdose rate more than three times the national average and the highest death rate from drug overdoses in the country, documented this disconnect.

Researchers analyzed claims for 301 people who had nonfatal overdoses in 2014 and 2015. By examining hospital codes for opioid poisoning, researchers followed the patients’ treatment, seeing if they were billed in the following months for mental health visits, opioid counseling visits or prescriptions for psychiatric and substance abuse medications.

They found that fewer than 10 percent of people in the study received, per month, medications like naltrexone or buprenorphine to treat their substance use disorder. (Methadone is another option to treat substance use, but it isn’t covered by West Virginia Medicaid and wasn’t included in the study.) In the month of the overdose, about 15 percent received mental health counseling. However, on average, in the year after the overdose, that number fell to fewer than 10 percent per month.

“We expected more … especially given the national news about opioid abuse,” said Neel Koyawala, a second-year medical student at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine in Baltimore, and the lead author on the study, which was published last month in the Journal of General Internal Medicine.

It’s an opportunity that’s being missed in emergency rooms everywhere, said Andrew Kolodny, the co-director of Opioid Policy Research at the Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University outside Boston.

“There’s a lot of evidence that we’re failing to take advantage of this low-hanging fruit with individuals who have experienced a nonfatal overdose,” Kolodny said. “We should be focusing resources on that population. We should be doing everything we can to get them plugged into treatment.”

He compared it to someone who came into the emergency room with a heart attack. It’s taken for granted that the patient would leave with heart medication and a referral to a cardiac specialist. Similarly, he wants patients who come in with an overdose to start buprenorphine in the hospital and leave with a referral to other forms of treatment.

Kolodny and Koyawala both noted that a lack of training and understanding among health professionals continues to undermine what happens after the overdose patient is stabilized.

“Our colleagues in emergency rooms are not particularly well trained to be able to help people in a situation like this,” said Dr. Margaret Jarvis, the medical director of a residential addiction treatment center in Pennsylvania.

It was clear, Angerer said, that her doctors were not equipped to deal with her addiction. They didn’t know, for instance, what she was talking about when she said she was “dope sick,” feeling ill while she was going through withdrawal.

“They were completely unaware of so much, and it completely blew my mind,” she said.

When she left the hospital after her toe and finger amputations, Angerer recalls her next stop seemed to be a tent city somewhere in Midland, where she feared she would end up dead. Instead, she persuaded her mother to drive her about 300 miles to a treatment facility in Dallas. She had found it on her own.

“There were a lot of times I could have gone down a better path, and I fell through the cracks,” Angerer said.

The bottom line, Jarvis said, is that when a patient comes into the emergency room with an overdose, they’re feeling sick, uncomfortable and “miserable.” But surviving that episode, she emphasized, doesn’t necessarily change their perilous condition.

“Risk for overdose is just as high the day after as the day before an overdose,” said Dr. Matt Christiansen, an assistant professor in the Department of Family & Community Health at the Marshall University Joan C. Edwards School of Medicine in West Virginia.

Written by Rachel Bluth: rbluth@kff.org, @RachelHBluth

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