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Requiring a prescription for certain cold medicines could dramatically reduce methamphetamine production in West Virginia, a national substance-abuse expert told state lawmakers.

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As drug-related deaths continue to rise, state funding for patient outreach is on the decline. This story is part of a series that examines prescription drug abuse in Kentucky.

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Everyone has a story about how they got the story, and sometimes the former is better than the latter. We’re hoping you’ll share yours for a new contest we’re sponsoring on Reporting on Health’s Facebook page. The prize: a $50 iTunes gift card.

 

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From greener school lunches to required nutritional information printed on fast-food menus, it's clear that state and federal governments are urging Americans to take control of their health -- starting with food. This is part four in a four-part series.

Part one: Convenience often trumps nutrition

Part two: Committed to nutrition

Part three: Providing healthier choices

 

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In an effort to promote healthier eating habits among students, Merced County school officials are eliminating foods high in fat from school meal offerings and replacing them with fruits, vegetables and other nutritious alternatives. This is part three in a four-part series.

Part one: Convenience often trumps nutrition

Part two: Committed to nutrition

Part four: No escape from healthy lifestyle effort

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Journalist Mark Taylor examines how one Gary, Indiana emergency room continues to serve some of the sickest and neediest patients in the region, handling more gunshot, knife wound and violent trauma cases than other area ERs, alongside the chronically ill.

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When Dow Jones & Co., publisher of The Wall Street Journal, announced it was suing to gain access to information about individual providers in the Medicare claims database, investigative reporters everywhere started salivating.

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Candy bars, Pop-Tarts and french fries were always on the menu in Ruth Sanchez's daily diet.

For years, the 17-year-old consistently made poor eating choices. "Fast food is what I would eat the most," she recalled.

Ruth, a former Merced Scholars Charter School student, said the two main reasons she turned to fast food were because it was affordable and easy to get.

"You are on the run, and you are going to get something from the $1 menu," she explained. "It's quick and it's the cheapest."

Not only did Ruth, who weighs 183 pounds, make the wrong choices when it came to eating, she also didn't live an active life.

That's no longer the case. She has made a dramatic change in her habits.

This is part two in a four-part series.

Part one: Convenience often trumps nutrition

Part three: Providing healthier choices

Part four: No escape from healthy lifestyle effort

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Low prices, availability and aggressive targeted marketing are all factors that ensure children and teenagers are eating more fast food than ever before. The Network for a Healthy California is pushing for outdoor advertising that encourages healthier choices. This is part one in a four-part series.

Part two: Committed to nutrition

Part three: Providing healthier choices

Part four: No escape from healthy lifestyle effort

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