Health Care | Nashville Public Radio

Health Care

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Blake Farmer / WPLN

The VA in Middle Tennessee is trying to cast a wider net for patients in a long-running effort to reduce veteran suicides, as the agency nationwide has been monitoring high-risk patients closer than ever.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

The vaccination effort to slow the spread of hepatitis A in Nashville has reached a new group — anyone who visited The Back Corner music venue in late June. An employee has been diagnosed with the contagious liver disease, which most people get over in about two weeks.

couresty the Curry family

A majority of infants in Tennessee are now breastfeeding at six months, a rate that is slightly above the national average and a substantial improvement for the state.

The new data comes after Tennessee has been promoting breastfeeding, even as rates across the South lag behind the rest of the country.

Blake Farmer / WPLN (File photo)

Tennessee's Medicaid program is trying to make it easier for patients to get prescription drugs that help treat opioid addiction. The moves come after years of restricting access to the medication because of concerns about abuse and diversion.

opiateaddictiontreatment / via Flickr

Purdue Pharma's sales reps in Tennessee were pushing OxyContin even harder as the high-powered opioid came under more legal scrutiny in recent years. That's among hundreds of claims made by the Tennessee Attorney General in a lawsuit filed in May and made public Thursday.

iStock / via KHN

The tide may be starting to turn on the number of drug-dependent babies in Tennessee. After an alarming 5-year rise, the number of infants going through withdrawals from opioids is down by more than a quarter from the same point last year.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Even asking how best to wean drug abusers off opioids can raise hackles. Addiction specialists have straddled a philosophical divide over the use of pharmaceuticals in the process. But the side advocating against medication assisted treatment is shrinking in Tennessee and nationwide.

Steven Van / via Flickr

Cherry bombs, bottle rockets and Roman candles may be more powerful, but they don't cause the most emergency room visits around the July 4 holiday. New data show the largest number of injuries come from what are often thought of as a safer firework alternative.

Blake Farmer / WPLN

Overdose deaths among African-Americans in Tennessee have roughly doubled since 2012. Fatalities from opioids are still growing among whites in the state, but deaths among blacks are surging twice as fast.

Nate Grigg / via Flickr

Tennessee is on the verge of becoming one of the few states that allows women to buy hormonal birth control without first having to visit a doctor.

The idea is seen as a way to make birth control more widely available, and perhaps even reduce the number of abortions. But turning it into reality has taken a long time.

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