Tuesday, June 06, 2006

Pain Killer

A spark of curiosity while looking through rows of numbers in a vital statistics report led to a great series by Scott Finn and Tara Tuckwiller running this week in The Charleston Gazette. After more than six months of digging through data and talking with medical examiners, epidemiologists and other experts, Finn and Tuckwiller found that methadone poisoning deaths around the country have more than tripled in recent years. The culprit, they concluded, was improper warnings when methadone is prescribed as a painkiller. Even when patients take the usual adult dosage approved by the FDA, they often die, Finn and Tuckwiller report. This is a well-written, well-researched story that shows what can happen when reporters follow the numbers.


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