Some tips on tracking national action on opioid abuse

Susan Heavey

About Susan Heavey

Susan Heavey, (@susanheavey) a Washington, D.C.-based journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on social determinants of health and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on resources and tip sheets at determinants@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: CDC/Debora Cartagena/CDCLegislators, facing an election year, are starting to take action in an attempt to control the drug epidemic surrounding heroin and other opioid abuse.

Photo: CDC/Debora Cartagena/CDCLegislators, facing an election year, are starting to take action in an attempt to control the drug epidemic surrounding heroin and other opioid abuse.

Stories on how heroin and other opioid abuse shattering communities have been the focus of many powerful pieces in media outlets across the country. After years of inaction, Washington, D.C. ,has begun turning its attention to the issue and moving toward some possible action.

But covering the moving parts of the Department of Health and Human Services, Congress and the White House in tackling the issue is akin to tracking a moving target, all complicated by election-year politicking. What’s a reporter – especially one outside D.C. – to do?

Freelance health writer Alicia Ault offers a comprehensive set of tips and resources for how HHS, the White House and Congress have been ramping up efforts to tackle such drug abuse.

Ault, who has covered health care for nearly three decades, knows the ins-and-outs of health policy. In a new tip sheet for AHCJ members, she offers guidance on policy moving into action and how reporters can track it despite all the moving parts. She also offers writers some ideas on how to find new angles on the story and other issues to consider in the coverage outside of the nation’s capital. You can read her tips here.

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