Wednesday, April 01, 2009


I read this article in The Oregonian today. See if you can see my problem with it.

Here's the third paragraph of the article:
In 2008, there were 131 overdose deaths from methadone, and another 39 involving oxycodone. That compares with 119 heroin-related deaths, 106 methamphetamine-related, 51 cocaine-related and 46 deaths resulting from a combination of these drugs.
Since I'm that kind of girl, before I read the article I added up the numbers:
Prescription drug deaths: 131 + 39 = 170
Illicit drug deaths: 119 + 106 +51 + 46 = 322

Of course, more than one drug could be implicated in a single death. Just adding up the numbers might not give the true picture.

Looking a little further, I found this:
The state statistics show 229 people died from the illicit drugs of heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine or a combination of them in 2008
There's no mention of the total deaths from prescription drugs, but the above paragraph does match the state statistics. The state press release also confirms something like 170 total deaths from methadone and oxycodone.


Let's imagine that the lady who wrote the article is shopping for an iPod, and she sees two identical units. Would she buy the one for $229 because it's cheaper than the one for $170?

Or is it a joke and I just don't get it?

Today is April Fool's Day, after all....


Unknown said...

The headline is misleading. What it should have said was that "a" prescription drug (singular - not plural - as in methadone) tops the list of Oregon overdose stats. In other words, the 131 cases were higher than any of the other legal or illegal drug overdoses.

Love to you, C, and your feline overlords.


DeeAnn said...

Yes, the headline is misleading.

So is the first paragraph of the article: the one where our journalist says the total deaths for prescription deaths are higher than the total deaths for illicit drugs.

I waded through that long, Long, LONG article, hoping that she would say that *a* prescription drug tops the list of Oregon overdose stats.

Our feline overlords are not happy with us right now. But then, that's not really news. When are they happy with us?