Atlantic writer offers suggestions for covering drugs, pregnant women

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 by J.K. Califf via Flickr.

Photo by J.K. Califf via Flickr.

Olga Khazan, a health writer for The Atlantic, often tackles health subjects bisecting traditional health and the impact on people’s lives. That can range from the heavy weight of medical bills to struggling home visit programs for poorer mothers. Earlier this year she looked at the impact of taking drugs – from meth to painkillers, on pregnant women in various states.

The story, “Into the Body of Another,” examined the jail terms some mothers received for taking various substances while pregnant despite the varying – and in some cases unknown – impact on their unborn children.

Khazan, a runner-up for the Urban Journalism Prize earlier this year, likened her effort to cover the issue of drugs, pregnancy and prison to a reporting odyssey.

Olga Khazan

Check out this new tip sheet she has prepared for AHCJ members. Reporters looking to examine the issue in their states, or other related angles on the issue, should consider her advice on sources, court records, and good old-fashioned shoe leather reporting.

Khazan’s Atlantic piece is one of many she has done on the societal aspects to health care. Other media also have explored the intersection of drugs, women and their children. Here is some further reading:

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