Jerome Adams

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Gretchen Frazee / WTIU News

Several weeks before Indiana’s state health commissioner Jerome Adams was nominated to replace Vivek Murthy as U.S. Surgeon General, Adams toured a detox center in Indianapolis with Justin Phillips, founder of Overdose Lifeline - a grassroots organization focused on preventing opioid deaths. “I asked him to accompany me to see first hand some of the treatment and recovery work that's being done within Indianapolis,” says Phillips .

 

Joe Flintham
https://www.flickr.com/photos/joeflintham/

A governor-approved bill that would give Indiana counties and municipalities the ability to set up their own syringe exchanges passed its first hurtle, clearing the House Committee on Public Health Wednesday afternoon.

Currently, local and regional governments need the state health commissioner to declare a public health emergency before counties can establish their syringe exchange programs. The new bill still does not allow the state to fund the programs, and communities would still have the option to establish exchanges through the state approval method.

Liz Mochrie / https://www.flickr.com/photos/lizziemoch/7521193178

State health officials say frozen strawberries distributed to some Indiana restaurants are giving people hepatitis A.

In a warning to Hoosiers, the Indiana State Department of Health says multiple states are looking at a hepatitis A outbreak that may be linked to frozen strawberries imported from Egypt.

So far, eight restaurants in Marion, Hamilton, and Hendricks counties have received the recalled strawberries and served them within the last two weeks.

New Program Aims To Reduce Number Of Infant Deaths

Oct 13, 2016
Valentina Powers / https://www.flickr.com/photos/valentinap/253659858

Every woman who gives birth at one of seven Indiana University Health hospitals across the state will receive a sleep sack through a new initiative to decrease infant deaths.  The sacks are like wearable blankets, unlikely to get caught around a baby’s nose and mouth.

The initiative is funded through a partnership with Riley Children’s Health and the Indianapolis Colts, and Riley’s Dr. Kim Schneider says unsafe sleep practice is one of the top three causes of infant death in Indiana, but it is a preventable one.

Sarah Fentem / Indiana Public Broadcasting

As the response to the lead contamination crisis in East Chicago, Indiana continues, public health officials are still working to get all the residents tested.

The former U.S.S. Lead Superfund site has soil lead levels as much as 100 times what the Environmental Protection Agency considers safe.

Lead can cause serious neurological problems, among other health issues. For that reason, state and local public health officials have been conducting blood lead testing.

Becca Costello / Indiana Public Broadcasting

The Indiana State Health Commissioner Friday declared a public health emergency for Wayne County, allowing the county to establish a syringe exchange program. The state has approved four other syringe exchange programs.

aJ Gazmen / https://www.flickr.com/photos/guccibear2005/1393270263

Indiana health leaders say Hoosiers need to be healthier to keep the state's economy humming.

Chuck Gillespie heads the Wellness Council of Indiana, a nonprofit owned by the Indiana Chamber.

He says health care costs are second only to payroll for most companies -- and more companies are looking at health rankings when they decide where to locate.

In most of those rankings, from smoking rates to infant mortality, Indiana's near the bottom.

Indiana State Department of Health / Facebook

Indiana health officials say the key to reducing the state's chronically high infant mortality rates is to improve infant death rates among minorities.

Indiana needs to cut its infant death rate by one-sixth in five years to reach a federal goal of holding the rate to six deaths for every thousand live births. The mortality rate among whites is already at that goal, but babies born to African-American Hoosiers are two-and-a-half times more likely to die before their first birthday.

Barbara Harrington / http://indianapublicmedia.org/news/author/bjharrin/

More than two weeks after the first meeting of  Governor Mike Pence’s drug abuse task force, the governor is ordering state agencies to begin implementing some of the group’s initial recommendations.  

One of the drug task force’s initial recommendations urged the state to seek broader Medicaid coverage for drug treatment.  Governor Mike Pence is now directing the Family and Social Services Administration to determine the feasibility of that recommendation. 

Almond Dhukka / https://www.flickr.com/photos/almondbutterscotch/

Legislation Sen. Joe Donnelly (D-IN) authored – and a companion bill sponsored by Congresswoman Susan Brooks (R-5th) – would create a federal task force to combat drug abuse. 

Brooks says it would marshal the efforts of several federal agencies to help identify best practices -- including ways to reduce the over-prescribing of medication.

“80-percent of the heroin users in the country start out as prescription drug users,” Brooks says.

Indiana is one of only 13 states that prescribes more than 100 painkiller prescriptions per every hundred citizens. 

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