Substance abuse impact detailed. Tobacco, alcohol and illicit drug abuse were linked to nearly one-fourth of deaths in the U.S. in 1995 and accounted for $114 billion in healthcare spending that year, according to a study released last week by the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The study found that some 52% of eighth-graders had consumed alcohol, 41% had smoked cigarettes and 20% had used marijuana.
Study: Immigrants are healthier. Immigrant men over the age of 25 had an 18% overall lower mortality rate from major causes of death than their U.S.-born counterparts, according to a study by the National Cancer Institute. The study included 277,000 U.S.-born individuals and 23,000 immigrants. The overall mortality rate among immigrant women was 13% lower. Immigrants under the age of 45 also were far healthier than their U.S.-born counterparts, with mortality rates 37% lower among women and 31% lower among men.
Misdiagnoses linked to fifth of deaths. About one in five patients dying in a tertiary-care hospital's intensive-care unit from 1994 to 1995 had been misdiagnosed, indicating at least some could have survived given the correct diagnosis, according to an analysis of autopsy results reported in the February issue of Chest.
Problems of uninsured tracked. Compared with their insured counterparts, uninsured people with chronic conditions receive half the number of laboratory tests, make 28% fewer outpatient visits and are much more likely to go without essential medicines, Families USA said in a report released earlier this month.