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Picture of Alison Knezevich

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 suppl

Picture of Alison Knezevich

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 second in a four-part series examining prescription drug abuse in West Virginia.

 

Picture of Alison Knezevich

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 first in a four-part series examining prescription drug abuse in West Virginia.

Picture of Frank Sotomayor

This piece focused on Los Angeles’ ethnic communities: How they are key to increasing organ donations and, on the other side, how they benefit from these life-saving procedures. I wanted to establish a human connection right away — to show how a donated organ can help an individual who is very ill, almost to the point of dying. Through my reporting, I’ve also learned that donation helps the donor family by providing consolation for the loss. As a number of donor families have told me: “My loved one lives on, helping another person to stay alive.” With the help of OneLegacy, the organ donation agency for the L.A. area, I made contact with a donor’s parents and the recipient of a donated kidney that brought him back to health. That gave me my lead. Then, I described how OneLegacy is working to raise awareness about organ donation in the area’s three primary ethnic communities: Latino, Asian and African American. Together, these groups make up more than 60% of the population served by OneLegacy in Southern California. With the help of OPTN media specialists, I determined that these groups also make up about the same proportion of organ donors and organ recipients. The piece was posted on LA Beez, an online collaboration of ethnic media outlets. It was a pleasure to work with editor Jerry Sullivan and website specialist Kevin Chan.

Picture of William Heisel

Although Doctors Behaving Badly tends to focus on exactly what you would expect, its mission is to make people aware of the many ways that patients are left unprotected.

There are nearly 1 million licensed, practicing physicians nationwide. Antidote has no ability to count how many are “behaving badly,” but it is safe to say that only a slim minority are tainting the reputation of the medical community. Doctors who abuse, injure or kill patients are the surrogate markers for an illness in the physician discipline system. They are not the illness.

Picture of Gergana Koleva

If you've experienced sticker shock at the pharmacy and wondered why drug prices are always rising, even for generics, consider the value of salt. Baxter International, which sells drugs to health care providers and pharmacies, billed Medicaid $928 for $1.71 worth of saline solution -- a 54,000% markup -- for more than 10 years before a Louisiana state lawsuit caught the deception...

Picture of Caitlan Carroll

Medical training covers very little on how to confront dying and death with their patients and their families. Marketplace's Caitlan Carroll visits the San Diego Hospice and the Institute for Palliative Medicine, where they are training physicians on how to tailor care around patients' last wishes.

Picture of William Heisel

If you have ever suffered from serious, ongoing pain (RSI, anyone?) you know the desire to take something, anything, to make it go away. What if you were told that you may have a risk as high as 2% of developing heart problems as a result of the painkiller? Would that stop you? And what if you were told that your risk without the drugs was 1%? Would that make you any more likely to start taking the pills?

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