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Sam Ogozalek - Health Reporter

Health Reporter

I’m here to help you navigate the confounding, complex U.S. health care system — especially as it relates to mental and behavioral health — and to hold institutions accountable for your quality of care. Do you have a story to tell? Let’s talk. I’m from a rural town in upstate New York and attended Syracuse University, where I edited The Daily Orange, the school’s independent student newspaper. When I’m not working, I love to hike, especially in the Big Cypress. If you have trail recommendations, reach out any time.

  1. U.S. regulators have warned people not to consume tianeptine products, including Neptune’s Fix. The substance is prescribed as an antidepressant in some European, Asian and Latin American countries.
  2. U.S. Rep. Kathy Castor, D-Tampa, wants congressional lawmakers to probe kratom, a virtually unregulated substance that is widely available across Florida, including at smoke shops and gas stations.
  3. IDEA Exchange Pinellas, a harm reduction program in St. Petersburg, collects used syringes at 1525 16th St. S. Suite 3. The needle exchange has seen wounds linked to xylazine, a horse sedative found in the illicit fentanyl supply.
  4. The man who died was riding a Suzuki GSX-R600 motorcycle on westbound State Road 56, according to a news release from the Florida Highway Patrol.
  5. The Pinellas Park Police Department responded to a shooting at about 11:30 p.m. Saturday in the 6600 block of 41st Street N, according to a news release.
  6. St. Petersburg Fire Rescue responded to a house fire Sunday in the 700 block of 63rd Avenue N, according to a news release.
  7. Mariah Perera holds her daughter, Lailani, at their home in Seffner. The infant contracted RSV when she was 2 months old and was admitted to Johns Hopkins All Children's Hospital.
  8. St. Joseph's Hospital in Tampa. The medical center and St. Joseph’s Hospital-North in Lutz will become home to a new 117-resident internal medicine program.
  9. Paxlovid, a medicine for COVID-19, is available to infected Florida residents at high risk of severe disease.
  10. Gulfside Health and Rehabilitation Center, at 1100 N. Pine St. in Clearwater, recently said none of its residents were up to date with COVID-19 vaccines, according to federal data.
  11. Dec. 30, 2023• Investigations
    Kratom is virtually unregulated and widely available online and in gas stations and smoke shops across Florida. Researchers say lawmakers and regulators could take several steps short of a ban to protect people who use the herb.
  12. University of Florida researchers tested 20 kratom products provided by the Tampa Bay Times, including leaf powders and concentrated extracts.
  13. Sam Caudle, 33, of New Port Richey, attempts to dry the floor of the home he owns in Tarpon Springs after it flooded due to Hurricane Idalia on Wednesday, Aug. 30, 2023.
  14. University of South Florida police said a man was found dead in a campus parking lot early Saturday.
  15. The shootout happened at the Hidden River Parkway-East Fletcher Avenue intersection after the man crashed his car into a retention pond, according to the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office.
  16. Three parents who sought an injunction against Florida's rules barring treatment for children with gender dysphoria were granted it by a judge on Tuesday.
  17. A digital illustration in bright Copic marker and pencil shows a cluster of realistically drawn Amanita muscaria mushrooms in different phases of growth, from the button stage to fully mature. These mushrooms have a distinct red cap covered in small, white nubs, which give it a spotted appearance. The gills and stem are a cream white color.
  18. A Johns Hopkins All Children’s Hospital psychologist offers tips for parents struggling with the teen mental health crisis. This is the St. Petersburg hospital pictured in 2020.
  19. A worker registers patients to be tested for COVID-19 at a site on Hillsborough Community College’s Brandon campus in 2022.
  20. A new sexual assault crisis facility at 201 14th Ave. SE in Ruskin will administer rape exams for victims in southern Hillsborough County. The nonprofit Crisis Center of Tampa Bay plans to open the facility Monday.
  21. A view of the staff work areas at Metro Inclusive Health’s new clinic, at 2235 Central Ave. in St. Petersburg, on April 20. The nonprofit is expanding around Tampa Bay this year.