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State lawmakers are moving closer to snuffing out synthetic versions of cocaine and marijuana in West Virginia.

Both the House of Delegates and state Senate on Wednesday unanimously passed similar proposals (HB2505, SB63) to make it illegal to possess or distribute the drugs, often found in convenience stores and head shops.

 

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From the Jonas Brothers to Antonio Banderas, celebrities are cutting deals with Big Pharma. Plus more from our Daily Briefing.

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Prescription drug abuse is growing nationwide, but West Virginia was one of the first places hit by the problem. When I picked this topic, I didn't realize how complex it was. The drugs are widely available. Doctors are struggling to treat pain with effective medications without supplying drug abusers. And prescription drug crimes have proven difficult to prosecute.

This is the third in a four-part series examining prescription drug abuse in West Virginia.

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Why are taxpayers footing the bill for a Florida man's medical marijuana? Answers and more from our Daily Briefing.

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Last week, I started listing Antidote’s 10 favorite stories of the past year, in no particular order. Here is the rest of the list.

Dialysis: High Costs and Hidden Perils of a Treatment Guaranteed to All,” Robin Fields, ProPublica, November 2010

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Andy Miller used his own money to launch the nonprofit website Georgia Health News last month. He's now in the midst of seeking foundation grants and donations. This week at Career GPS, Miller straightforwardly answers some questions about developing his new media venture.

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In November, we highlighted two freelance careers in health journalism. This week we have a first-person account of Karen Weintraub's freelance career.

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Medical boards all across the country let doctors get away with fakery on their resumes.

But not South Dakota.

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When Linda Marsa received a copy of the December issue of Discover magazine in the mail, she was thrilled. Her story about climate change and its effect on long forgotten diseases in America made the cover. Never mind that she has been a journalist for 30 years, Marsa finds health journalism as riveting now as when she first began. And she is still learning ways to be a better freelancer.

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It's the kind of thing that makes traditionalists in journalism cringe, and convinces them that technology will ruin the integrity of news. SEO is the tech acronym for "search engine optimization," ways to design websites and content that will rank highly in search results. What many journalists might not realize is that the techniques of SEO are actually not that far off from the fundamentals of hard news.

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