Side Effects

Prison facilities across the U.S. have become hotspots for COVID-19 cases. More than 34,000 people in prisons across the U.S. have tested positive for the novel coronavirus, according to recent data from the Marshall Project, a nonprofit covering criminal justice. Side Effects reporters Jake Harper (WFYI, Indianapolis) and Paige Pfleger (WOSU, Ohio) joined community engagement specialist Brittani Howell to talk about covering prison outbreaks in their states.

Here’s something that might surprise you: A new national survey shows that regardless of political affiliation, Americans mostly agree on how to reopen the economy during the coronavirus pandemic—slowly—and with protective measures like face masks.

A medical professional performs the COVID-19 test at a drive up testing site in Merrillville, Indiana.
Justin Hicks / Indiana Public Broadcasting

Behind a nondescript strip mall in Carmel, Indiana, a short line of cars gathers mid-afternoon next to a large tent. Medical professionals stand out front, dressed head to toe in blue medical gear. People in the cars – many of them first responders – drive up to get checked for COVID-19.

The federal government recently raised the smoking age to 21 to help curb teen vaping.  Some are applauding the decision as a win for public health. Others worry it was a knee-jerk reaction.

Just a few weeks ago, some Midwest state legislatures were aiming to raise the legal age for smoking. But Congress moved first, setting a new national age limit of 21. Now, some anti-smoking advocates say that’s not enough. 

A doctor's office.
Robyn Wright / Pixabay

In a small house in South Bend, Ind., a family is getting ready for Christmas. The tree is up and everyone is laughing together, drinking something they call “Christmas Punch.”

Across the U.S., more than 2,000 people have reported vaping-related lung illnesses, and 47 have died. Some vaping happens in schools, so they share the burden of bringing this crisis under control. Which raises the question: what should the consequences be for a student caught vaping?

In 1983, Indianapolis hosted one of the first summits on the emotional and psychological mistreatment of children. This week,  local, state and international leaders are meeting in the city, looking for new ways to tackle the problem. 

Across the United States, there’s a push to give new doctors cultural training to work with refugees and other immigrants. And some say it’s the difference between healthy and sick patients.

How Incarceration, Economic Decline Affect Opioid Deaths

Aug 26, 2019

As officials look for ways to stem the opioid epidemic, a lot of effort has been put into limiting narcotic prescriptions. But new research suggests underlying social issues -- like incarceration and poverty -- are linked to overdose deaths. 

The items on the menu of Fresh by Gene's, at Kentucky's ROMP Fest, boasts locally sourced, organic ingredients.
Isaiah Seibert / Side Effects Public Media

Temperatures are soaring, and that means Midwesterners are headed to summer festivals like the Ohio State Fair. They’ll eat plenty of high calorie foods ⁠—from corn dogs to fried ice cream sandwiches ⁠— but some festivals are trying to include healthier foods.

WorldSpectrum / Pixabay

Earlier this year, police dispatchers in Evansville, Ind., received a chilling call. A man said he was holding his wife at knifepoint, and he warned police that he was heavily armed.

Illustration by Tamara Cubrilo

When José moved his family to the U.S. from Mexico nearly two decades ago, he had hopes of giving his children a better life. But now he worries about the future of his 21-year-old-son, who was diagnosed with schizophrenia and bipolar disorder last year.

E-cigarette Popularity Surges In Rural Classrooms

Jun 11, 2019

North Newton Junior/Senior High lies in the Northwest corner of Indiana, in a county home to more dairy cows than people.

But students have no problem getting e-cigarettes in all shapes and sizes. Some look like pens, others like computer thumb drives.

As the opioid epidemic continues, hospitals are looking for new ways to treat pain and combat addiction. At Indiana University Health, which has 16 hospitals across the state, that means change. They’re cutting back on opioid prescriptions and giving more advice to patients.

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