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Americans are in the midst of a synthetic opioid crisis. U.S. deaths from synthetic opioids have steadily risen from 1999 to 2021. In 2021, the U.S. death toll from synthetic opioids reached 70,601 people. The main cause of these deaths is a synthetic opioid called fentanyl. The fentanyl industry is powered by three major players — China, Mexico and India. These countries house transnational criminal organizations that cook fentanyl’s chemical inputs, create the finished fentanyl powder and lace the powder into other drugs that end up killing American users. In addition to providing the public with fentanyl-testing strips and over-the-counter Narcan, the device that administers naloxone — an opioid reversing drug — we should look into approving the Halt Fentanyl Act — also known as H.R.467.
It is a joke among me and my friends that I am in college and do not use TikTok. I am an Instagram user through and through. Yet I see the appeal. TikTok is the younger generation’s latest platform for unique and relatable content.
Virginia guards the largest data center market in the world. Data centers are buildings with a network of computer servers that store, process and distribute large amounts of internet data. Without data centers, Americans would lose the ability to use internet-reliant services like email, smart devices, online banking and more. Nationally, 60 percent of U.S. data centers are centralized in Northern Virginia — on only 1,304 sq. miles of land. Globally, Northern Virginia ranks number one for most data center locations, followed by Silicon Valley and Singapore.
Fatty foods were first found hazardous to health in 1940s research correlating high-fat diets with high-cholesterol levels. There is merit to this. Man-made trans fats and some saturated fats are associated with an imbalance in cholesterol levels and heart disease. But not all fatty foods are bad for you. There are plenty of good fats for heart health, like monounsaturated fats — in olive oil — and polyunsaturated fats — in fish, walnuts and canola oil. Unfortunately by the 1980s, the low-fat fad had taken over. Fats — both good and bad — began to phase out of the American diet. Even in the 21st century, a low-fat diet has been an essential tool to combat obesity and reach better heart health. Ironically, the low-fat foods we’ve spent decades touting may not be the healthier option at all. A 2016 study by Stanford researchers actually found higher sugar content in low-fat renditions of products. This is because in order to make low-fat products palatable, food scientists often offset the loss of fat by increasing sugar content. This common exchange — fat for sugar — is problematic.
During the Green Revolution of the mid-20th century, American agronomist Norman Borlaug selectively bred a wheat crop to have primarily edible kernels, eliminating the natural, inedible stems. Borlaug pioneered genetically modified food to increase crop yield and remedy global food shortages. Borlaug’s better breeding techniques combined with modern biotechnology and genetic engineering created 21st century GM food. One agro-corporations today, Monsanto-Bayer, developed Bt corn — a corn seed genetically altered to contain the pesticide Bacillus thuringiensis which wards off pests. The GM seeds succeeded in increasing crop yield — for every 10 percent Bt corn adopted, a 1.7 increase in crop yield followed. In a meta-analysis of 147 studies, GM crops on average resulted in a 22 percent increase in yield and a 68 percent increase in profit compared to non-GM crops. But better yield and profit unfortunately do not counterbalance the potential detriment GM crops cause.
A proffer is a sum of money paid by developers to a respective county and is used to fund public projects — like roads, schools and parks — to offset the addition of new residences to an area. Proffers in Albemarle do not accomplish enough to provide or protect their local residents. Problems with proffer collection and use in our locale involve Virginia’s vague legal language that does not clearly define an unreasonable proffer, the poor ratio of proffers paid to actualized damages in Albemarle and the financial irresponsibility of Albemarle’s Board of Supervisors in the spending of proffers.
According to a 2019 Brigham and Tufts’ joint study, a healthy diet could save $301 in annual healthcare costs for the average American related to cardiometabolic complications. Cardiometabolic diseases describe common, preventable diseases such as heart attack, stroke and diabetes that have been on the rise globally. Preventive health measures against these diseases translate to $50.4 billion in total savings for the American population.
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DivestUVA is a student group aiming to pressure the University to stop funding fossil fuels. The group’s most recent statement demands a comprehensive report of University of Virginia Investment Management Company — the financial board that leverages the University 14.5 billion dollar endowment — fossil fuel investments and immediate divestment from companies whose primary profit comes from fossil fuels extraction. As of Jan. 5, this petition has over 1,200 signatures. Unfortunately, DivestUVA’s petition has not spurred UVIMCO to take up any actionable plans of divestment. Despite UVIMCO’s inaction, I too believe there should be transparency in fossil fuel investments — still, divestment should be a process of case-by-case analysis.
Monopolies and their precious patent system are easily identifiable cruxes to the cost of living with health issues in the U.S. As an individual with Crohn’s Disease, AbbVie’s patented Humira was an option for my treatment after diagnosis. I’m glad I didn’t take it. After 2019, Americans spent 1.4 billion more on Humira the following year due to net price hikes. Individuals paid approximately 10 percent more for Humira year to year. Monopolies and the patent system that platforms them are long due a remodel.
Introduced in October, the seven-year project of the Student Health and Wellness building is drastically larger than its predecessor, the Elson Student Health Center. The new Student Health and Wellness Building is 165,000 square feet. In contrast, as stated in an email from the Student Disability Access Center, prior facilities at Elson were only 35,500 square feet — a 370 percent increase in area dedicated to student health and wellness programs. Now it's time the University leverages this newly developed area to refine the programs that reside within its walls.
Housing prices are skyrocketing across America, and Albemarle County is no exception. Local realtors will say high-priced homes are products of consumers willing to pay more. Unfortunately, the idea that demand from eager buyers is the primary catalyst to market prices is false. Our housing crisis is an issue of supply stemming from a manmade shortage of available land and homes instigated by land regulation.
The younger generation has long been a bastion for American hope. However, this palace of hope found in American youth faces destruction. Political media tears out personas and inserts partisanship. Unnecessary designations and conformity have long made modern politics mechanical and predictable. This repeated offense is a detriment to American democracy especially in a young, intelligent community such as the University.