WEOS Finger Lakes Public Radio

Brett Dahlberg

Brett is the health reporter and a producer at WXXI News. He has a master’s degree from the City University of New York Graduate School of Journalism and before landing at WXXI, he was an intern at WNYC and with Ian Urbina of the New York Times. He also produced freelance reporting work focused on health and science in New York City.
Brett grew up in Bremerton, Washington, and holds a bachelor’s degree from Willamette University in Salem, Oregon.

One of the dangers of injecting drugs outside of a medical clinic is obvious: overdose.

Others are less obvious, but still pretty well understood: Sharing needles carries risks of viral infections.


Sen. Chuck Schumer called on the federal government and drug manufacturer Merck to address what he called a “critical shortage” of a bladder cancer drug.

As tick season arrives in the Finger Lakes, doctors at Rochester Regional Health have encouraged people who get bitten to have the bugs removed by a professional.

Scott Allan, the medical director at Rochester Regional’s immediate care facilities, said he and his colleagues are starting to see tick bites often.

“As the weather gets nicer, more people are going outside, going into the woods, going hiking, getting exposure to ticks,” Allan said. “Definitely getting more common.”

A new effort aimed at reducing minors' use of flavored tobacco products downstate could also be expanding to the Rochester area and across New York.

The Flavors Hook Kids campaign is part of an effort to inform young people that flavored tobacco products are addictive and can hurt their health.

The effort to ban those products in New York City officially launched Wednesday, but the American Cancer Society’s Cancer Action Network has also begun a push in Albany to ban those products statewide.

New York state has passed a second law to tax prescription opioids, after enforcement of a previous version of the measure was found unconstitutional.

Chad Rank has been taking buprenorphine for years. But he's still coming to terms with what it means for his recovery from more than a decade of addiction to opioids.

"A few months ago I talked to my doctor, and I was like, 'Maybe I want to come off of it,'" Rank said. "It's a real internal struggle: Do I want to keep taking this?"

Buprenorphine is a prescription drug used to help people quit heroin, painkillers, or other opioids. But it carries its own stigma, especially in 12-step programs like Narcotics Anonymous.

The number of people without health insurance in Steuben County has been cut in half since 2014. That should mean more people have access to the health care system. But that’s not always the case, according to Erin Bankey, who manages funds from a state program aimed at reducing hospital visits in the Finger Lakes.