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. 

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Sarah Fentem / Side Effects Public Media

The federal government has granted a one-month extension to Indiana’s Medicaid program, known as the Healthy Indiana Plan, or HIP 2.0, which was set to expire this month.

This buys time for the state and federal government to finalize details of how the program works, according to a press release from Gov. Eric Holcomb's office. 

Kentucky got the green light from the federal government Friday to require people who get Medicaid to work. It's a big change from the Obama administration, which rejected overtures from states that wanted to add a work requirement.

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Starting December 1, patients on Indiana’s Healthy Indiana Plan will have an easier time getting certain opioid addiction medications. The four insurers that manage plans for Indiana’s Medicaid program, HIP 2.0, are eliminating an administrative hurdle that can cause patients to wait days to receive their prescription, leaving them vulnerable to relapse and overdose.


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A much-anticipated new study found two popular opioid addiction medications are equally effective after treatment begins.

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Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.) is investigating the pharmaceutical company Alkermes for its marketing and lobbying efforts used to “artificially boost sales” of its addiction drug, Vivitrol.

Jake Harper / Side Effects

New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie said it’s past time for the U.S. to deal with the opioid epidemic.

Christie, who chairs the President’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, spoke Monday at the Indiana attorney general’s Prescription Drug Abuse Symposium in Indianapolis.

A shortages of qualified treatment providers is frequently cited as an obstacle in fighting the opioid addiction crisis. Yet, according to research published in the journal PLoS One, the solution may lie in the hands of primary care providers who can successfully treat addiction.

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Homicides, mainly gun deaths, are the biggest contributor to premature death among black Americans.  Yet despite this harsh statistic, there’s very little research on the issue, according to a new study from Indiana University’s School of Public Health in Bloomington.

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High-deductible health plans, which have lower premiums but higher out-of-pocket costs, help reduce health care spending, according to a new study from Fairbanks School of Public Health in Indianapolis. But the researchers also found that people on HDHPs are using fewer preventive services such as cancer screenings, perhaps because people are worried about getting stuck with the bill. 


Indianapolis, Indiana.
Evan Walsh

On a rainy day in Austin, Indiana, Brittany Combs, the public health nurse for Scott County, drives around in a white SUV. Medical supplies are piled high in the back of the vehicle: syringes and condoms, containers for used needles, over-the-counter medications.


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