New Project: The Prescription Epidemic
January 22, 2012
Today we’re publishing The Prescription Epidemic, a set of reports on the human cost of prescription drug addiction in Washington State. The project is the result of a six-month investigation led by InvestigateWest's Carol Smith into the origins of the epidemic, the challenges it poses for communities going forward, and what lessons other states might learn.
You can read the resulting work this morning in The Spokesman-Review and on Crosscut.com, as well as here on our website. This project also marks our fourth collaboration with PBS affiliate KCTS-9. Monday, Jan. 30 at 9 p.m., KCTS is airing a documentary we co-produced on the faces of this addiction.
Prescription pain medications kill more Americans than heroin and cocaine combined, and in a pill-happy culture, the trend shows few signs of reversing.
Washington State has been at the epicenter. The state’s residents are among the highest consumers of prescription pain meds in the country. They are also dying from prescription overdoses at a rate of two people a day, one of the highest rates in the nation.
At the beginning of this month, the strictest prescribing law in the country went into effect. But many loopholes in the system remain. Public health experts around the country are watching what happens, and tracking other innovative pilot programs here aimed at cutting abuse.
Let us know what you think. Share your own stories on our Facebook page. And stay tuned this week as we release more documents, maps, data, and interviews on the prescription epidemic.
Wealth & Poverty | February 2013
“It was just common knowledge – when you turn 18, you’re done,” Sharayah Lane said. “After the checks stopped coming, we all went our separate ways."
End of the Line is a new series by Claudia Rowe asking what happens when teens get too old for foster care in Washington State.
Photo Credit: Jon Connell/Flickr
Environment | January 2013
Meet America's newest sharecroppers. Guys like Jared Bright who vie for control of the Pacific fishing industry's lower rungs, the only rungs that seem to be left. They don't own the halibut, not even when it lands in their boats.
Lee van der Voo uncovers absentee landlords, brokers and bankers, and fish quota that costs more than your house — realities that fly in the face of more official, rosy portrayals.
Health | November 2012
Kids with multiple sclerosis, historically an adult disorder, offer researchers a set of intriguing new clues about the disease that could lead, eventually, to better treatments.
With adolescent MS on the rise in the Northwest, Carol Smith meets a young patient who is learning to live with the disease at the age of 16, and the doctors and scientists trying to keep her healthy.
Environment | October 2012
In 1972, Congress enacted legislation to end water pollution. Forty years later, American rivers and lakes are still badly contaminated, and new threats to clean water are outpacing the Act's enforcers. Follow along as InvestigateWest and EarthFix investigate.
Environment | June 2012
As local governments trade away public parkland, the safeguards put in place by the Land and Water Conservation Fund to protect that land are full of holes.
Public Health | January 2012
The Prescription Epidemic
As Washington enacts the strongest prescription drug law in the country, InvestigateWest presents a six-month investigation into the origins of the prescription epidemic, the challenge it poses for communities, and what lessons other states might learn.