Tag Archives: heroin

Strong social media presence helps Md. reporter cover her community’s opioid crisis

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: nadja robot via Flickr

For Heather Wolford, a reporter for the Cumberland Times-News, covering the growing opioid crisis in the rural hills of Western Maryland was, quite literally, a calling.

Now two years into her health coverage of the epidemic, Wolford was driven by a journalist’s instinct to find out what was happening in her community, from those using the drugs, police officers and government officials, to family members on all sides of the crisis.

“When I repeatedly heard daily overdose calls over the office scanner, I asked my boss if I could dive into the crisis,” she said. Continue reading

Public radio collaborative shines light on ACA’s impact in their rural communities

Joanne Kenen

About Joanne Kenen

Joanne Kenen, (@JoanneKenen) the health editor at Politico, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health reform and curates related material at healthjournalism.org. She welcomes questions and suggestions on health reform resources and tip sheets at joanne@healthjournalism.org. Follow her on Facebook.

Photo: Rebecca KigerPatients wait for treatment at a West Virginia day program for substance abuse.

The Ohio Valley ReSource is an award-winning collaborative of seven public radio stations in Ohio, West Virginia and Kentucky that have partnered to produce some fine multimedia work on rural health and Affordable Care Act. Their region has been hard hit by the opioid crisis and the spread of HIV – expanded health care coverage under the ACA is seen as critical in combating both.

The collaborative has done a nice mix of narrative and policy – looking at coal miners, alcoholism, job creation and rural providers, particularly clinics. Continue reading

Winners of 2016 health journalism contest announced

Pia Christensen

About Pia Christensen

Pia Christensen (@AHCJ_Pia) is the managing editor/online services for AHCJ. She manages the content and development of healthjournalism.org, coordinates AHCJ's social media efforts and edits and manages production of association guides, programs and newsletters.

In-depth investigations into heroin and pain-pill abuse drew several top awards in this year’s Awards for Excellence in Health Care Journalism.

The 2016 awards, announced today by the Association of Health Care Journalists, recognize the best health reporting in 11 categories. This year, the contest’s 13th, drew nearly 400 entries.

Winning entries included investigations into inflated prescription-drug prices, agricultural practices fueling antibiotic resistance, and poor oversight of dangerous drug interactions.

Read more about the winners.

Cincinnati journalists spotlight how the heroin epidemic has put a generation at risk

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Nadja Robot via Flickr

On Monday, analysis from the Congressional Budget Office showed that 24 million more Americans would become uninsured over 10 years if the U.S. House Republican’s bill to replace the Affordable Care Act (ACA) becomes law. Coverage of the CBO report overshadowed other news last week that the proposed American Health Care Act also would slash insurance coverage for those who are addicted to opioids and other drugs, according to reporting in USA Today and the Cincinnati Enquirer.

Deirdre Shesgreen and Terry DeMio on March 9 reported the bill would freeze the ACA’s Medicaid expansion provisions and limit federal payments to the states for all beneficiaries. That would result in a disproportionately adverse effect on patients coping with mental illness and addiction, they wrote. Continue reading

Resources for covering insurance and its role in addiction treatment

Joseph Burns

About Joseph Burns

Joseph Burns (@jburns18), a Massachusetts-based independent journalist, is AHCJ’s topic leader on health insurance. He welcomes questions and suggestions on insurance resources and tip sheets at joseph@healthjournalism.org.

Photo: Debora Cartagena/CDC

Health care journalists covering addiction, overdoses, and the heroin epidemic are likely to learn that the health insurance system appears to be part of the problem. That’s what Terry DeMio found on her beat in southern Ohio and northern Kentucky. Since January 2016, DeMio has been the Cincinnati Enquirer’s heroin epidemic reporter.

Rather than paying for the best medications for drug addicts in need, health insurers often require patients to start with the lowest-cost drugs. Then if the lowest-cost prescription fails, insurers then pay for the next highest-cost drug. Called fail-first or step therapy, this process repeats until the patient finds one that works. Meanwhile, the patient suffers or could die, DeMio said. Continue reading