Jake Harper

Reporter, WFYI

Jake is a reporter with Side Effects and WFYI in Indianapolis. He decided to pursue radio journalism while volunteering at a community station in Madison, WI, and soon after began an internship with NPR's State of the Re:Union. Jake has received a first place award from the Milwaukee Press Club and he was a finalist in KCRW's 24-Hour Radio Race. In his spare time, he runs and tries to perfect his pizza crust recipe. 

Ways to Connect

Brandon Smith/IPBS

Indiana governor Mike Pence is in the spotlight this week as the man Donald Trump has chosen as his running mate. His decisions about health and healthcare in Indiana have drawn attention from within and outside the state. And his record could be important in November, because his running mate doesn’t have a legislative record at all.

Twice a day, Angela and Nate Turner of Greenwood, Indiana, take tiny strips that look like colored scotch tape, and put them under their tongues.

“They taste disgusting,” Angela says.

But the taste is worth it. The strips are actually a drug called Suboxone, which helps control their cravings for opioids. The married couple both got addicted to prescription painkillers following injuries several years ago, and they decided to go into recovery this year. With Suboxone, they don’t have to worry about how they’ll get drugs, or how sick they’ll feel if they don’t.

Jake Harper/Side Effects

Keith Smitherman makes a stop at an apartment complex in one of Indianapolis’s most violent neighborhoods, near 38th Street and Sherman Avenue. He’s delivering food vouchers to a young, pregnant mom, and she invites him to the baby shower.


In the latest episode of Sick, a podcast from Side Effects Public Media, journalist Lisa De Bode got curious about how homeless women deal with menstruation, so she wrote a story on it. Then, things started to change.

Plus, our reporter Jake Harper learns a valuable lesson about how to approach this topic as a male. 

Jake Harper/Side Effects

In sunny patch of grass in the middle of Indianapolis’s Crown Hill Cemetery, 45 people gathered around a large blackboard. The words “Before I die…” were stenciled on the board in bold white letters.

Sixty-two-year-old Tom Davis, was leading this tour through the thousands of gravestones scattered across across the cemetery. He has thought about his life and death a lot in the last few weeks. On March 22, he had a heart attack.

Seth Herald/Side Effects

Four days a week, public health nurse Brittany Combs drives her SUV around the small town of Austin, Indiana, handing out clean needles to injection drug users and talking to people about going to rehab.

It’s a task that can be rewarding—when one of her customers finally wants help to get off drugs—and a bit agonizing, because there’s often not a rehab bed ready for them.


Anna Frodesiak/Wikimedia Commons

Carla used to get dialysis a couple of times a week at the public hospital in Indianapolis, Eskenazi Hospital. She would sit in a chair for hours as a machine took blood out of her arm, cleaned it, and pumped it back into her body.

Then one day in 2014, she was turned away.  

    

 

The needle exchange in Fayette County, Ind. is hidden in a back office at the health department. Paula Maupin, the county’s public health nurse, runs the exchange, which is basically just a desk with baskets of everything a drug user needs, apart from the drugs. There are syringes, cotton balls, alcohol swabs—even tourniquets.

 


Sarah Jackson had quit abusing drugs and was sober for six months before finding out she has hepatitis C. The Fort Wayne, Indiana mom says she was newly focused on starting her career and on raising her six kids. The diagnosis came as a shock.

Ed Uthman/Flickr

A few weeks ago, Micah Clark, head of the conservative American Family Association of Indiana, received a letter from the Indiana State Department of Health that troubled him. It stated that his 14-year old daughter hadn’t yet been vaccinated for human papillomavirus, or HPV, and encouraged a vaccination to protect against various cancers.

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