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 "overdoses" ...

  • 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.
  • They Shared Drugs. Someone Died. Does That Make Them Killers?

    This was a year-long investigation of the prosecution of accidental drug overdoses as homicides. It is the first and only story to attempt to quantify the national scale of this emerging trend using court data. It also involved a review of 82 individual cases in Pennsylvania to examine where defendants fit on the user-dealer continuum and whether they were drug users themselves.
  • 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.
  • Heroin: Killer of a generation

    Confronted by a nationwide heroin epidemic in a county known as the nation's rehab capital, The Palm Beach Post exposed the sordid underbelly of the unregulated sober home business, identified bogus addiction treatment lab tests and created the state’s first and only cost analysis of the heroin epidemic. The Post's reporting culminated with publication of the photographs and mini-profiles of all of the 216 people who died from heroin-related overdoses in Palm Beach County in 2015. Federal and state officials arrested sober home operators, and county, state and federal lawmakers pledged action to curb the epidemic and treatment abuses. http://apps.mypalmbeachpost.com/ourdead/
  • The Triangle

    “The Triangle” is a five-episode web series that uncovered a more than 4000% increase in heroin-related deaths during the last five years. Our investigation started with a tip that two young people died from overdoses in Atlanta’s wealthy suburbs but no one was talking about it. A team of journalists confirmed that. We also identified a geographic region where the deaths were so hidden even some law enforcement agencies were unable to accurately attribute them to heroin. https://vimeo.com/198370121/dd0b282d3a
  • Pain pill abuse in Alabama

    Our series explored the pills to heroin pipeline and heroin arrests; the Dr. Feelgoods that prescribe painkillers at alarming rates; the links between pain pills and fatal overdoses; and the inside operations at a national pill mill in Mobile, Alabama. The problem has gotten so bad that federal authorities cracked down on pain doctors in the state as the number of painkiller clinics grew to more than 400.
  • Synthetics & The New Drug War

    NBC Washington created the most comprehensive site available anywhere on the Internet about synthetic drugs following a record-breaking year in the DC region for overdoses and violent crimes connected to these ever-changing chemical cocktails. While the rest of the nation grappled with the opioid epidemic, EMS crews in our region responded to 10x as many emergency calls for synthetic overdoses compared to heroin overdoses, heart attacks and strokes this year. By combining ten different investigations with multiple interactive features, including the first-of-its kind "synthetic drug dictionary," NBC Washington helped parents, teachers, policy makers and the police themselves understand how dangerous these drugs really are and why law enforcement just can't seem to catch up in this new drug war. http://data.nbcstations.com/national/DC/synthetic-drugs/
  • ‘Banking On Failing:’ Opiate Addiction & The Insurance Struggle

    As Wisconsin’s heroin and opiate painkiller overdoses hit epidemic levels, desperate parents say the current insurance system, which they are depending on to help them save their addicted children's lives, is instead banking on their children's failure. https://vimeo.com/matthewsimonjournalist/review/146988583/89d839bc07 https://vimeo.com/matthewsimonjournalist/review/146988570/e9716e1e80
  • Campus Confidential Informants

    Student journalists in Professor Steve Fox's Investigative Journalism & The Web class uncovered that the University of Massachusetts Amherst police use confidential informants, potentially putting students' safety at risk. Officers were allowing students to avoid campus and criminal consequences for drug offenses in return for becoming police informers, allowing some students to conceal dangerous drug habits from their families. After months of investigation, student journalists Eric Bosco and Kayla Marchetti reported that a UMass student who agreed to become a confidential informant to avoid a drug arrest, died of a heroin overdose. Publication of the student's death lead prosecutors to reopen the investigation into the overdose death after the student's mother gave them the name of the student she believes provided him with the drug.
  • Killers & Pain

    In her series Killers & Pain, Mary Beth Pfeiffer went where other media outlets have yet to go on a painkiller abuse epidemic whose devastation cannot be understated: 22,000 American lives lost in 2012 in overdoses from prescribed drugs like oxycodone. While the epidemic's story has been told elsewhere, Pfeiffer broke new ground. She laid blame on doctors at the epidemic’s heart, finding twin failures of physician oversight -- by regulators charged with assuring doctors do no harm and a justice system that gave drug-dealing doctors special treatment. Beyond this, the Journal was the first news outlet in New York to link a rush to heroin to a state law intended to curb painkiller abuse. It also documented massive over-prescribing, and, perhaps most importantly, humanized an epidemic that has ravaged communities served by the Poughkeepsie Journal. Pfeiffer’s June 29 profile of "The Dutchess 63" is a heart-breaking investigative portrait of real-world pain.