Side Effects is a public radio collaborative focusing on the intersection between policy, people and place. Here are some of our latest stories:
Buprenorphine is one of just three federally approved medications to treat opioid addiction. It’s possible to misuse it because it’s an opioid itself — people snort or inject the medication to get high. And patients with prescriptions can sell or give it away, which is known as diversion. But addiction treatment professionals argue the problem of buprenorphine diversion is often misunderstood.
Art therapy is finding its place in the mental health profession, but most states don’t recognize it as its own profession. one of the largest challenges is the lack of a state license, which makes it difficult for art therapists to bill insurance.
Data show dozens of children a year enter Illinois state custody when parents run out of options for getting them the mental health care they need. Fundamentally, this issue of who pays for mental health treatment comes down to a law that requires insurance companies to cover mental health care at the same level as other medical conditions.
In response to rising cancer rates among firefighters, more than half of all states have enacted what are called presumptive laws. These laws say firefighters who are diagnosed with cancer while on the job or within a certain time after retirement are presumed to have become ill because of their work. But many firefighters and their families have learned presumptive laws don’t guarantee health care coverage after a cancer diagnosis.
There are 16,000 people in the U.S. with phenylketonuria, or P.K.U. People with P.K.U. can’t process a certain amino acid in protein. To make up for the protein they can’t eat, phenylketonurics drink the special lab-made formula that removes the offending amino acid. But that formula isn't always covered by insurance.
Since there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, researchers are focused on ways to identify early signs and create treatments before dementia sets in. Indiana University School of Medicine researchers found that the sense of smell can be associated with atrophy in certain areas of the brain.
More than half of all states have laws regarding flu shots for health care workers. But some on the frontlines of public health worry the law won’t live up to its purpose since it lacks enforcement.