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 "opioids" ...

  • Painkiller Profiteers

    The Gazette-Mail tracked the deluge of prescription opioids into West Virginia, following them to individual counties, pharmacies and families. The newspaper's investigation found that drug distributors shipped 780 million hydrocodone and oxycodone pills to West Virginia in just six years, a period when 1,728 people fatally overdosed on those two painkillers.
  • Helpless & Hooked: The most vulnerable victims of America’s opioid epidemic

    A federal law requiring states to develop plans to protect children born dependent on drugs is routinely being ignored. As a consequence, Reuters found, babies and toddlers are dying preventable deaths, not because of the opioids in their systems but because they are sent to unsafe homes. We identified 110 children whose mothers used opioids during pregnancy and who died after being released to parents ill-equipped to care for them.
  • Connecticut Nurse Among Highest Prescribers In U.S.

    Tunneling through reams of newly-released national prescriber data in January 2015, C-HIT senior writer Lisa Chedekel came across a tiny bit of information that is fundamentally changing how Connecticut views pain treatment. Lisa found an odd nugget that lead to a flood of stories: an advanced practice registered nurse working out of a clinic in tiny Derby, Connecticut was among the nation’s top 10 prescribers of the most potent pain killers in the Medicare drug program. The ARPN, Heather Alfonso, wrote more than 8,700 prescriptions for opioids and other Schedule II drugs in 2012 – far more than any pain specialists or doctor.
  • Pain Pillar Investigated by DEA

    CNN's attraction to the story of deaths at a clinic was simple irony. They marveled at how a clinic run by someone who is considered -- at least among pain physicians -- the leading voice about safely prescribing opioids -- could have had so many deaths.
  • Hooked: Canada's Pill Problem

    Which Canadians pop the most pills? What's the correlation between prescription, abuse and deaths connected to potent opioids? What happens when you crack down on one widely abuse opioid - but only one? We created an original database tracking opioid prescriptions across provinces and compared that with data on abuse and opioid-related deaths. We spoke with people who've lost loved ones to opioid use, to the companies manufacturing these drugs and the policy-makers trying to combat their abuse. Our data shed new light on the topic and gave health ministers something new on which to act.
  • Patients' pain pumps fraught with problems

    Self-administered pumps that hospital patients use to manage pain often fail or are misused by patients who are in pain and affected by their meds. We investigated after finding multiple reports of patients overdosing using pain pumps – in one recent case, resulting in death. The issue becomes even more of a concern because opioids are more powerful and addictive. We found that even “smart pumps,” which are supposed to signal when dosages exceed recommended levels, fail. Finally, we found that reports of pump failure represent a small percentage of actual cases.