Tracking Opioid Settlement Funds: A Journalist’s Insightful Journey

Opioid Settlement Fund

Tracking Opioid Settlement Funds: A Journalist’s Insightful Journey

The opioid crisis has been a persistent issue plaguing the United States for many years. With the recent settlements from companies involved in the production and distribution of these drugs, there is now over $50 billion available to state and local governments to address this crisis. As a journalist, I have taken on the task of tracking how these funds are being utilized. This includes the well-known Purdue Pharma settlement, as well as those from over a dozen other companies implicated in the overdose epidemic.

My interest in this topic was sparked in spring 2022. Having reported on substance-use issues for several years, I was intrigued when these companies began agreeing to these colossal settlements. It seemed like a golden opportunity for governments to finally tackle the crisis head-on. However, being a journalist, I couldn’t help but harbor concerns about potential misuse or ineffective deployment of these funds.

Since then, I’ve dedicated my time to tracking the settlement dollars and assessing whether they are being used to address the issues I’ve been reporting on for years. I’ve penned numerous articles on this subject and plan to continue doing so for the foreseeable future.

Parallel to my work on the opioid settlements, I’ve also been involved in developing an online course aimed at teaching journalists how to responsibly report on suicide. This project was initiated back in 2021, with the goal of providing reporters with tangible tools and opportunities to practice story framing, interviewing, writing, and multimedia skills when covering suicide. Now, my advisor and I are planning to evaluate the effectiveness of this course through a qualitative research study.

Earlier this year, I relocated to DC where KFF Health News’ main newsroom is located. This has allowed me to adopt a hybrid work schedule. On my work-from-home days, I alternate between sitting on my comfy couch, sitting at my desk, and using my electric height adjustable standing desk. I understand the health benefits of an electric stand up desk, but sometimes the allure of the couch is too strong!

On the days I work from the office, I enjoy the camaraderie of my colleagues and the opportunity to learn from their interactions with sources. I also appreciate the perks of office life, like the snack-filled kitchen.

My day usually starts with a 30-minute walk to work, which provides me with a tech-free time to observe the city and its inhabitants. This helps me wake up and prepare for the human interaction that awaits me at work. When working from home, I start my day by reading morning newsletters on my phone before eventually transitioning from my bed to my couch and finally to my electric height adjustable standing desk.

My workday typically consists of check-ins with my editor, conducting interviews, conducting research, and writing. Ideally, I prefer to do interviews in the morning and writing in the afternoon, but it usually ends up being a chaotic mix.

After work, I make it a point to engage in some form of physical activity. Whether it’s a spin class at the YMCA or kickboxing, it’s a great way to relieve stress and stay healthy. The rest of my evening is spent either working on my capstone project or catching up on work, before wrapping up with some leisure reading before bed.

As someone who understands the importance of maintaining good health while working long hours, I can attest to the benefits of using tools like a sit-stand desk. So, if you are wondering how to choose the best standing desk for your workspace, consider factors like adjustability, stability, and ease of use. With the right sit-stand desk, you can create a healthier and more productive work environment for yourself.

author avatar
Guy Director
Higher Diploma in Mechanical Engineering. Ergomotion Director since 2005.

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