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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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.

Lindsay Fox/Flickr

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.

Wikimedia Commons

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.

Fixtures, Pipe Materials Could Affect Drinking Water Safety

Jan 20, 2017

A Purdue University professor is investigating drinking water safety with a grant from the Environmental Protection Agency.

Andrew Whelton, an assistant professor in the Department of Civil, Environmental and Ecological Engineering, says drinking water safety, despite what many people might think, is not well understood.

“A lot of the declarations about drinking water safety are not actually based on science,” Whelton says. “They’re based on hope.”

Before leaving office, former Indiana Gov. Mike Pence denied an emergency declaration request from the city of East Chicago, Indiana. But East Chicago State Rep. Earl Harris, Jr. is hopeful new Gov. Eric Holcomb will still consider one.

The Calumet neighborhood of East Chicago has lead and arsenic contamination in its soil at 200 times the legal limit.

Harris says the request isn’t something the city asked for lightly.

“I didn’t know if there was a lack of understanding or what the situation was but really we need, needed, and still need more help,” Harris says.

Jake Harper/Side Effects

Indiana’s new governor, Eric Holcomb, vowed to tackle the state’s drug addiction epidemic in his first State of the State address on Tuesday. But he has also said he supports Congress’s plans to repeal and replace Obamacare.

New Indiana Governor Creates Drug Czar Position

Jan 19, 2017
Intiaz Rahim/via Flickr

On his first day in office, Indiana’s new Republican governor, Eric Holcomb, signed an executive order creating a new state-level position to coordinate anti-drug efforts, a move at least two other states made last year to turn back the rising tide of opioid addiction.

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