Public Health News For Indiana

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An opioid epidemic.  High  smoking rates.  Health care provider shortages. Indiana faces serious public health challenges.   Side Effects Public Media provides in-depth coverage of these issues and more.

Please write us with story ideas or questions at sideeffects@wfyi.org.  

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A new study from the School of Public and Environmental Affairs at IUPUI in Indianapolis has found that restricting opioid prescriptions may have an unintended side effect: more overdose deaths involving heroin and fentanyl. The study also shows that Indiana’s reports don’t reflect the actual number of overdose deaths in which opioid drugs are present.

Indiana Overdose Deaths Continue To Mirror National Trends

Feb 27, 2017
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Deaths from drug overdoses have continued to increase in Indiana, mirroring national trends reported by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last week.

Note: This story was updated at 11 p.m. February 22, 2017. 

The federal government is welcoming public comment on an application to renew Indiana’s Medicaid program until March 17. The program needs federal approval to continue because its design is an experiment: Unlike Medicaid expansions in other states, the Healthy Indiana Plan, or HIP 2.0, requires members to make monthly payments. Now Indiana has to argue that the experiment is working.

Indiana Locals Could Soon Approve Needle Exchanges, But Still Lack Funding

Feb 20, 2017
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New governor Eric Holcomb promised in his State of the State address to make it easier for counties to establish syringe exchange programs and a bill moving through the legislature would make that possible.

But the programs still face significant opposition from officials, and funding the programs remains the largest barrier.

 


Bill Aims To Limit Prescriptions Of Opioids In Indiana

Feb 9, 2017
Barbara Brosher/Indiana Public Media

A proposal that would limit opioid prescriptions passed a Senate committee Wednesday. It is one of 15 measures authored by Sen. Jim Merritt that aim to combat the opioid epidemic.

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Indiana has one of the nation’s highest smoking rates, but a bill working its way through the legislature aims to change that, in part by raising the cigarette tax by $1.50. The bill cleared the House Committee on Public Health Wednesday.

Nancy Cripe, the coordinator for Tobacco Free Allen County, spent the day before the committee vote at the statehouse to convince lawmakers to vote for the bill, as part of Raise It For Health’s advocacy day. It was easy work.

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In 2015, Indiana expanded its Medicaid program under the Affordable Care Act. The Healthy Indiana Plan, or HIP 2.0, extended coverage to about 250,000 low-income Hoosiers who were not previously eligible. Amid the turmoil in Washington over what to do with Obamacare, Indiana has applied to keep the program running for three more years.

Indiana Seeks Three-Year Renewal Of Medicaid Expansion Program

Feb 1, 2017
Drew Tarvin/via Flickr

Indiana announced it wants the federal government to renew HIP 2.0, the state’s Medicaid expansion program, for three years.

Syringe Exchange Bill In Indiana Draws Impassioned Testimony From Top Officials

Jan 25, 2017
Joe Flintham
https://www.flickr.com/photos/joeflintham/

A governor-approved bill that would give Indiana counties and municipalities the ability to set up their own syringe exchanges passed its first hurtle, clearing the House Committee on Public Health Wednesday afternoon.

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U.S. Department of Agriculture / https://www.flickr.com/photos/usdagov/

A Senate committee on Monday approved a bill that would extend Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program benefits — also known as SNAP or food stamps — to former offenders convicted of certain drug-related offenses.

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