Top Illinois Dems should return campaign cash from pharma companies implicated in opioid crisis

If they seriously need the money, they need to give up their job representing their constituents because it would seem like they are only in it for the money.

SHARE Top Illinois Dems should return campaign cash from pharma companies implicated in opioid crisis
Illinois Senate President Don Harmon

Illinois Senate President Don Harmon.

Ashlee Rezin/Sun-Times file

First of all, why are Illinois Democratic politicians accepting campaign contributions from pharmaceutical companies implicated in the opioid crisis? And why haven’t they returned these contributions?

As for Senate President Don Harmon and Illinois House Speaker Emanuel “Chris” Welch, they should lead by example and return — not accept — contributions from pharmaceutical companies paying billions to settle suits accusing them of being responsible for the crisis.

There should be a law that prohibits any politician, whether Democrat or Republican, from accepting any and all contributions from companies that do business or lobby in the state of Illinois. Let them earn their contributions the old-fashioned way, not from companies that kill individuals.

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Let’s see if any leader or politician will step forward and return the money.

They will have blood on their hands if they don’t. And if they seriously need that blood money, they need to give up their job representing their constituents because it would seem like they are only in it for the money.

Shame on them.

Gerald Bernson, Tinley Park

Keeping infants safe while sleeping

When the Back to Sleep Campaign was launched by the American Academy of Pediatrics in the 1990s, our nation saw unprecedented decreases in sudden unexplained infant death (SUID) based on initial recommendations that babies are safer if placed on their backs to sleep. That progress has stalled in recent years, particularly among communities of color.

With a focus on reducing these disparities, the AAP updated its safe sleep guidance in a new policy statement released on June 21. In addition to reiterating the “ABCs” that babies should sleep Alone on their Back in a Crib, the AAP makes the following key updates: 

  • Sleeping surfaces should be flat.
  • Breastfeeding for all infants younger than six months is recommended.
  • Co-sleeping with an infant is especially risky when done with specific other behaviors. 
  • To address racial disparities, there should be additional funding for research on the social determinants of health, health care inequalities and the impact of structural racism.

Pediatricians face limitations to implementing safe sleep practices, such as limited time for conversations and different lived experiences from those in the communities they serve. That is why community-based collaborations are so important to conveying guidance in cultural contexts, the goal of Cook County Health’s participation in the Child Safety Forward initiative.

As part of the initiative, Cook County Health has convened a multi-disciplinary group of stakeholders and has deployed an innovative simulation training at the Child Protection Training Academy of the University of Illinois Springfield, to help identify risk factors for communities that can lead to unsafe sleep practices. 

Using a public health approach based on the AAP’s guidelines, we are working with stakeholders to build knowledge and share timely information. Educating specifically through an equity and diversity lens will more effectively achieve our goal of helping all families implement safe sleep practices to reduce child fatalities.

Daniel P. Riggins, MD, Cook County Health
Verleaner Lane, Project Director, Project CHILD of Cook County Health 

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