Jake Harper

Reporter, WFYI

Jake Harper started his job at Side Effects shortly before the 2015 announcement of an HIV outbreak in southern Indiana, and since then has focused his reporting on addiction, Medicaid and access to health care. His investigations have covered medical industry influence in state and national government, a clinical trial that skirted federal regulations and various barriers to evidence-based addiction treatment. His stories have been broadcast at stations across the midwest and nationally on NPR's Morning Edition, All Things Considered, Latino USA and Here & Now.

Harper also co-hosts the podcast, Sick, with Lauren Bavis. Visit sickpodcast.org for more information. 

Ways to Connect

Brandon Smith/IPBS

Updated 3/26/2020 5:09 pm

Ventilators are among the most important equipment hospitals need to treat a surge of COVID-19 patients. Companies such as General Motors are gearing up emergency production of the machines, which take over the labor of breathing for a patient with a serious case of the virus. 

Photo by Brandon Smith/Indiana Public Broadcasting.

Vice President Pence is now in charge of U.S. coronavirus response, prompting a look back at his health record as Indiana governor facing an HIV outbreak, a drug epidemic and Medicaid expansion.

When Heather Woock was in her late 20s, she started researching her family history. As part of the project she spit into a tube and sent it to Ancestry, a consumer DNA testing service. Then in 2017, she started getting messages about the results from people who said they could be half-siblings.

"I immediately called my mom and said, 'Mom, is it possible that I have random siblings out there somewhere?'" Woock says. She remembers her mom responded, "No, why? That's ridiculous."

Jason was hallucinating. He was withdrawing from drugs at an addiction treatment center near Indianapolis, and he had hardly slept for several days.

"He was reaching for things, and he was talking to Bill Gates and he was talking to somebody else I'm just certain he hasn't met," his mother, Cheryl, says. She remembers finding Jason lying on the floor of the treatment center in late 2016. "I would just bring him blankets because they didn't have beds or anything."

Jake Harper/Side Effects Public Media

Physicians across the country have a message for the National Rifle Association: Gun violence is our concern. It's part of a battle being fought vigorously on Twitter in recent weeks.

Seth Herald for Side Effects

Months in prison didn’t rid Daryl of his addiction to opioids.

“Before I left the parking lot of the prison, I was shooting up getting high,” he says.

Jake Harper / Side Effects Public Media

Boxes are piled high in Anne Hickman’s hallway. Family photos peek out from behind the stacks in her one-bedroom Indianapolis apartment.

Jake Harper / Side Effects Public Media

Alaska plans to use federal grant money to purchase a controversial device used in opioid addiction treatment.

Last week, the Alaska Department of Labor and Workforce Development announced it will use part of a $1.3 million federal grant to purchase the Bridge device, which is made in Indiana. The Bridge is a nerve stimulator that attaches around a patient's ear to reduce nausea, aches and other symptoms associated with opioid withdrawal.

Jake Harper / Side Effects Public Media

To the untrained, the evidence looks promising for a new medical device to ease opioid withdrawal. A small study shows that people feel better when the device, an electronic nerve stimulator called the Bridge, is placed behind their ear.

 

The company that markets the Bridge is using the study results to promote its use to anyone who will listen: policymakers, criminal justice officials and health care providers.

 

The message is working.

Jake Harper / Side Effects

It was a scheduling mishap that led Kourtnaye Sturgeon to help save someone’s life. About four months ago, Sturgeon drove to downtown Indianapolis for a meeting. She was a week early.

“I wasn’t supposed to be there,” she said.


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