Stories

The IRE Resource Center is a major research library containing more than 27,000 investigative stories.

Most of our stories are not available for download but can be easily ordered by contacting the Resource Center directly at 573-882-3364 or rescntr@ire.org where a researcher can help you pinpoint what you need.

Search results for "epidemic" ...

  • Bitten: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons

    The first reported cases of Lyme disease surfaced in 1968; a half century later, CDC scientists believe there could be more than 300,000 new cases in the US every year. As this and other debilitating tick-borne diseases continue to spread, their origins have remained elusive. Some believe global warming is fueling the epidemic, others attribute it to human migration. But the fundamental question persists: where did Lyme disease come from? This mystery prompted Stanford University science writer and Lyme disease survivor Kris Newby to launch an investigation that led her to startling discoveries linking the outbreak to America’s clandestine biological warfare program. In BITTEN: The Secret History of Lyme Disease and Biological Weapons (Harper Wave; May 14, 2019; ISBN: 978-006-289-6278; 352 pages; $26.99)—a riveting work of scientific reportage and biography that reads like a thriller—Newby reveals the story of Willy Burgdorfer, the man who discovered the microbe behind the disease, and his role in covering up evidence that could implicate another tick- borne organisms in the original outbreak.
  • CNN Exclusive: The more opioids doctors prescribe, the more money they make

    As tens of thousands of Americans die from prescription opioid overdoses each year, an exclusive analysis by CNN and researchers at Harvard University found that opioid manufacturers are paying physicians huge sums of money -- and the more opioids a doctor prescribes, the more money he or she makes. In 2014 and 2015, opioid manufacturers paid hundreds of doctors across the country six-figure sums for speaking, consulting and other services. Thousands of other doctors were paid over $25,000 during that time. Physicians who prescribed particularly large amounts of the drugs were the most likely to get paid.
  • NPR/PBS Frontline/Ohio Valley ReSource: Coal's Deadly Dust

    Coal's Deadly Dust asked a fundamental question about an unprecedented epidemic of the advanced stage of black lung disease (Progressive Massive Fibrosis or PMF), among coal miners. How and why did this happen? How could it happen given a regulatory system designed to protect miners from the toxic dust that causes disease? The investigation documented the failure of federal regulators and the mining industry to protect coal miners from the epidemic of disease, despite clear evidence in federal data, clear evidence in mining practices, decades of recommendations to take action, and awareness of the danger.
  • Palm Beach Post: How Florida Ignited the Heroin Epidemic

    After fueling oxycodone addiction for a decade, Florida’s sudden crackdown in 2011 ignited the heroin epidemic across at least half the United States.
  • NPR/Frontline: Coal's Deadly Dust

    This NPR/Frontline investigation of an epidemic of a fatal lung disease affecting more than 2,000 coal miners used 30 years of government data and internal agency memos to show that federal agency officials knew more than 20 years ago that coal miners were exposed to toxic silica dust, and were suffering severe lung disease, but did not act then or since to directly address silica exposure in coal mines.
  • Global News/Toronto Star: Dispensing Harm

    After months of data analysis, a collaboration of Canadian journalists exposed drug-dealing pharmacists who abuse their professional privileges for personal profit. These rogue pharmacists traffic large quantities of prescription drugs, providing a supply line of illicit drugs to the street and contributing to the deadly opioid epidemic. The investigation also found that the government has the tools to crack down on this criminal behavior, but isn't using them.
  • 60 Minutes: Inside the Epidemic

    Bill Whitaker continues to investigate the origins of the opioid epidemic with a rare prison interview with a pain clinic doctor sentenced to 157 years for drug trafficking.
  • Coal's Deadly Dust

    This NPR/Frontline investigation of an epidemic of a fatal lung disease affecting more than 2,000 coal miners used 30 years of government data and internal agency memos to show that federal agency officials knew more than 20 years ago that coal miners were exposed to toxic silica dust, and were suffering severe lung disease, but did not act then or since to directly address silica exposure in coal mines.
  • Heroin Hits Home: A Search for Answers

    Ohio is ground zero of the heroin/opiate epidemic. More people die from overdoses in our state than any other (including California, which has three times our population.). WJW-Cleveland has covered the rise of the epidemic for years, but pivot here to where they think, at times, investigative journalism should go: searching for answers to problems that they reveal. In this case, those problems include: 1) a government policy that encourages doctors to prescribe more opiates in the middle of a heroin crisis; 2) a system that, on the federal level, treats marijuana very differently from opiates - many patients and some lawmakers believe legalized medical marijuana may well reduce the opiate epidemic; 3) a prioritization of public health policy that seems upside down: why is more money given to diseases that kill few Americans compared to one that is on track to become a "Vietnam" every year:? The DEA estimated 47,000 Americans would die from an overdose in 2016. Given that incredible number, they think that just reporting on the crisis as reporters do car accident deaths is today insufficient journalism. So we set out in a prime-time program to search for answers.
  • Heart of the Epidemic - West Virginia's Opioid Addiction

    Over the past five years, prescription drug abuse has become a raging epidemic in this country. Seventy-eight Americans die every day from an opioid overdose. Prescription rates for oxycodone, hydrocodone and methadone have quadrupled in the last sixteen years. Over five million people in this country are addicted to prescription pain meds. No state has felt the effects of this more than West Virginia. With the highest rate of prescription overdose deaths in the nation and the highest rate of use, this tiny state of 1.8 million sits at the heart of the epidemic. Driving these troubling statistics are the corrupt doctors, greedy pharmacists and negligent drug wholesalers who form the pill mill chains that indiscriminately prescribe and hand out pain meds for profit. With West Virginia serving as an extreme reflection of the country's spiraling rates of opioid addiction, CBS News set out to drill down into the layers of the state's epidemic.