State health department launches childcare database

The Department of Health announced the launch of a searchable online database of the more than 1,500 licensed child care facilities in the state. The site, which allows users to search by provider name, services, city or county, includes performance information such as licensing status, inspection reports, complaint investigations, and monetary penalties assigned during routine visits or inspections. “Our goal is to give parents and caregivers complete information at their fingertips to make an informed decision on where to safely and appropriately place their child,” said Jim Craig, director of health protection for the Department of Health. The online search feature is a first from the Department of Health and will allow parents to locate child care centers or youth camps with specific features such as ages served, after-school care and special needs services. In the past, information on complaints and inspections was available to the public only by making a written request for a specific facility.

Attorney General Hood urges federal government to repeal opioid law

Attorney General Jim Hood is asking the federal government to repeal a law that he says has handicapped the efforts to regulate drug distributors, allowing the opioid epidemic to flourish. Hood joined 44 states and territories sending a letter to Congress this week asking for the repeal of the “Ensuring Patient Access and Effective Drug Enforcement Act.” The law, which President Obama signed in 2016, strips the federal Drug Enforcement Agency of its ability to regulate drug distributors that over-ship supplies of opioids to pharmacies and communities. “This bill is essentially paving the way for more people to be killed by opioids because it makes access to the drug that much easier, and Congress needs to own up to their role in this epidemic by repealing the law immediately,” Hood said. “Mississippi is in the middle of this crisis just like the rest of the country, and if we need to take legal action against the companies distributing these drugs, then we absolutely will.”

Prior to this law, the DEA had the authority to immediately freeze shipments of narcotics from distributors that it deemed suspicious.