Side Effects

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Seth Herald

If a town could be said to hit rock bottom, Austin, Indiana, did so this year. Drug abuse has been out of hand there for some time, but it took the worst possible outcome to make the Southern Indiana community of 4,200 wake up to the problem: more than 170 newly identified cases of HIV since December 2014, spread almost entirely by needle-sharing.


Seth Herald

Getting Right, Part 2

Read our entire Getting Right series.

Heading out into the field, public health nurse Brittany Combs is a little angry, and in a hurry. Driving the county’s mobile needle exchange through Austin, Indiana can be hectic. Today she’s on a mission to find Jessica, a young mother who wants to go to rehab. But Brittany keeps getting interrupted.

“I’m supposed to be going to get Jessica right now,” she says as she pulls out of the community center, where the needle exchange is based. ”I told her I’d be there at three. Well, that’s not gonna happen.”


Seth Herald

Getting Right, Part 3

Read the whole Getting Right series.

On a recent Thursday afternoon, Police Chief Don Spicer is on patrol in Austin, Indiana. He drives through the northern part of town, where dilapidated houses are interspersed among tidy ones with manicured lawns.


Seth Herald

Getting Right, Part 4: A Person Struggling With Addiction Wakes Up

Read the entire Getting Right series.

It’s early in the morning, and Kevin Polly is getting ready to go. His daughter has called to wish him well, and when he gets off the phone, he excuses himself. Before he leaves, he has to get right.

One last shot—that’s the hope, anyway.


By Official Navy Page from United States of America MC2 John O'Neill Herrera/U.S. Navy, via Wikimedia Commons / U.S. Navy

A growing number of babies are going through detox in their first few days of life. The rate of admissions to neonatal ICUs for symptoms of drug withdrawal, known as neonatal abstinence syndrome or NAS, nearly quadrupled between 2004 and 2013, according to a recent study published in the New England Journal of Medicine.

Bram Sable-Smith / KBIA/Side Effects Public Media

When cattle farmer Greg Fleshman joined the board of Putnam County Memorial Hospital in rural northern Missouri in 2011, the hospital was on the brink of closing.

“Things we just falling apart financially and the morale of the employees. And it just seemed to get worse and worse,” he recalls. “Those were the darkest days.”


Cruelty of Teen Bullying Feeds Into Adult Depression

Jun 5, 2015
Two teen girls talking taunting another teen girl
zalouk webdesign/CC via Wikimedia Commons

If you’ve ever sat in a therapist’s chair wondering if those bullies from junior high are responsible for your adult depression, a study published earlier this week in the British Medical Journal lends weight to your theory.

Michael McFadden

Six-year old Jason Green squirms in a dental chair at a clinic in Sodus, New York while a hygienist probes his mouth with an unusual instrument. It looks like an electric toothbrush, but it is a camera and it’s capturing images that allow Jason’s dentist to inspect his teeth in detail--from 30 miles away. The dentist, Dr. Sean McClaren, practices at the Eastman Institute for Oral Health in Rochester, NY, but he sees several patients a week in this rural community, via a secure internet connection and a video call.

At 59 years old, Michael Froome just got a new heart.  His problem goes back 20 years after a chest pain led his doctor to order a cardiac stress test.

“When they put on the last electrode so the monitor comes live with your data, someone in the room goes, ‘Oh! That’s not good,’” Froome recalled.

Spencer Rosero, a cardiologist at the University of Rochester Medical Center, is one of Froome’s doctors. He has an idea that could cut the number of hospital visits patients like Froome have to make.

Seth Herald / Side Effects Public Media

On a recent afternoon, Brittany Combs drove a white SUV through a neighborhood at the northern end of Austin, Indiana. In the back of her vehicle, there were hundreds of sterile syringes, each in a plastic wrapper.


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