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California health

Picture of Maria Gaura

An estimated 20 percent of all field crops grown on California’s Central Coast are left in the field or thrown out at the packing shed. Volunteers for a farmer-run non-profit in Santa Cruz salvage the surplus and send them to local food banks.

Picture of Bill Macfadyen

Despite the walls put up by regulators to limit prescription drug abuse, those barriers are often just porous enough for a steady supply of opiates to end up on the street.

Picture of Bill Macfadyen

After being addicted to heroin and alcohol for 26 years, Kevin Smith has spent the last 19 years of his life sober, and helping those in Santa Barbara County battle the same demons he faced two decades before.

Picture of Bill Macfadyen

Santa Barbara County Sheriff Bill Brown sees substance abuse as a growing problem among the citizens he’s sworn to protect as well as those he’s put away.

Picture of Bill Macfadyen

Santa Barbara County law-enforcement officers have seen firsthand what prescription drug misuse and abuse can do to a person — physically, mentally and legally — since they not only investigate drug-related crimes but are often the first responders to the many medical emergencies involving overdoses.

Picture of Maria Gaura

Farmers in Santa Cruz, Monterey and San Benito counties donate thousands of tons of fresh fruits and vegetables to food banks every year, supply feeding centers as far away as Washington and Colorado. It’s a massive foodlift operation that all began 38 years ago with a freezer full of slightly yellow cauliflower.

Picture of Tara  Leonard

As the staff and volunteers at Second Harvest Food Bank work to combine food distribution with community-based nutrition education, the obvious questions arise: Do these peer education programs actually make a difference? Do participants change their eating habits for the better? And do these behavioral changes create measurable differences in participants' health?

Picture of Kari Lydersen

Maria Martinez and her husband and three sons live in a colorful stucco home in a subsidized housing development near San Diego Bay. But as soon as she steps outside, Martinez and her neighbors are confronted with an onslaught of environmental health hazards.

Picture of Barbara Feder Ostrov

A labor conflict intensifies with a patient's death during a nursing strike, a new map tracks antibiotic resistance, and unsustainable cancer treatment costs, plus more from our Daily Briefing.

Picture of Bill Macfadyen

As a Santa Barbara County deputy district attorney who works with young offenders, Von Nguyen knows what the community’s children are up to.

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