Public Health News For Indiana

Credit Pixabay/CC0

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  

Ways to Connect

New State Drug Director To Coordinate Indiana's Addiction Prevention Strategy

Jan 10, 2017
Trey Pennington /

Eric Holcomb has signed an executive order creating a position within his office to oversee all state agencies involved with drug prevention and treatment efforts.


Abortion remained a contentious issue in 2016 – the state saw a new law, demonstrations and three lawsuits. The Indiana’s abortion debate could continue to be a focus as the the 2017 legislative session gets underway.

In recent years, lawmakers in a handful of states have passed more restrictive abortion laws. Legal Director at the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana Ken Falk says Indiana is part of that trend.

More Babies Born Drug Dependent In Rural Areas

Dec 20, 2016
Weird Beard/via Flickr

new study finds an alarming increase in the number of newborns dependent on drugs. The new research shows the number of newborns drug dependent increased nearly fivefold since 2000.

President-elect Donald Trump unveiled two big health care decisions Tuesday.

Garden To Pantry: Fight Against Hunger Evolving

Nov 23, 2016
Jill Sheridan/IPB News/WFYI

Food pantries are an important part of the safety net for the one in six Indiana residents who struggles with hunger. But pantries face a lot of obstacles when it comes to providing fresh, healthy food.


Shira Gal/via Flickr

Tobacco use is costing Indiana taxpayers, healthcare providers and employers billions of dollars each year, according to a new report from the Fairbanks School of Public Health at IUPUI. According to the report, costs associated with tobacco use total $6.8 billion, which includes health care and lost productivity costs.

Veterans Turn To Yoga To Help Treat PTSD

Aug 30, 2016
Jill Sheridan/WFYI

An estimated 8 million people in the United States suffer from PTSD: post-traumatic stress disorder. In Indiana, as many as 50,000 Hoosier veterans could be dealing with it. But a new program is exploring a novel treatment: yoga.

Is Indiana’s Alternative Medicaid Expansion Working?

Mar 25, 2016
Reginald Rogers in a dental office
Phil Galewitz / KHN

Reginald Rogers of Gary, Indiana owes his dentist a debt of gratitude for his new dentures, but no money.

Indiana’s Medicaid program has them covered, a godsend for the almost toothless former steelworker who hasn’t held a steady job for years and lives in his daughter’s basement. “I just need to get my smile back,” Rogers, 59, told his dentist at a clinic here recently. “I can’t get a job unless I can smile.”

Number One In Meth Lab Seizures, Indiana Considers Laws To Restrict Pseudoephedrine

Jan 6, 2016
Pharmacy sign reads: We are proud to be part of the solution to reduce meth manufacturing in Fulton County.”
Drew Daudelin / IPBS

This spring, the Indiana State Assembly will take up two bills designed to fight methamphetamine production. Indiana has been number one in the country for meth lab seizures in recent years, and state officials say they expect the same for 2015.

One proposed law would empower pharmacists to turn away suspicious customers and steer people to alternative drugs that don’t contain pseudoephedrine. The other would make pseudoephedrine prescription-only.

Jennifer Nugent and her three kids are throwing a big, blue ball around in the small living room of their rental home.

The kids are happy, but Nugent isn't. She planned to raise them in a place with much more room to play.

And she was. That is, until she learned that home was uninhabitable.

Two years ago, she and her husband bought a country home in the small central Indiana town of Mooresville.

"It was blue and it had a lot of potential for us to add on," she says. "We really, really wanted that house."