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Why Austin, Indiana, is not an isolated case

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In poverty, people make choices from options available.

Austin, Indiana, became known when the opioid epidemic there led to a local HIV epidemic. But the conditions there exist in other urban and rural areas across the country. William Cooke, MD, the town physician, has received national attention and accolades for his work there. He described his experiences in his book, “Canary in the Coal Mine: A Forgotten Rural Community, A Hidden Epidemic, and a Lone Doctor Battling for the Life, Health, and Soul of the People,” and here discusses why Austin is not a fluke or an outlier.


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