Monthly Archives: January 2010

Local show to detail Oxy-to-heroin epidemic in Mass.

Speaking of news coverage of opioid-related deaths, Massachusetts television station WCVB is set to air a show on the OxyContin and heroin epidemic that is ravaging the suburban Brockton area of the state, reports. The show underscores the findings of the Enterprise, another local media outlet, which has engaged in extensive coverage of the region’s opiate death toll. Check out the Enterprise’s online presentations on the epidemic at Wasted Youth and Wasted Youth – Deadly Surge – the coverage is sad, disturbing, and highly informative.

The WCVB show, “Hooked in the Suburbs,” can be viewed in three segments here:

Segment 1
Segment 2
Segment 3

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News coverage of opioid-related deaths may influence abuse: study

The spike in deaths from opioid drugs such as OxyContin may be linked to the volume of coverage such deaths receive in the news, according to a recent study by Children’s Hospital Boston and the University of North Carolina Chapel Hill.

The study, which compared patterns of opioid deaths and patterns of news coverage between 1999 and 2005 – during which mortality rates from opioid abuse doubled – found that spikes in media coverage often preceded an increase in deaths, suggesting that media coverage may have influenced opioid abuse. The researchers assert that the way in which some stories are presented can pique the curiosity of those inclined to drug experimentation, and suggest that journalists withhold specific details of opioid abuse so as not to attract “copycats.”

Point taken, although Watchdog maintains that more information is always better than less information.

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Carrie John case develops amid online pharmacy crackdown

Former University of Maryland addiction researcher Carrie John died in September after injecting what she thought was buprenorphine. However, a syringe provided to police by her fiance Clinton McCracken showed no trace of the narcotic, indicating that the drugs the couple bought from New Mikee Online Pharmacy, a Web site based in the Philippines, might have been tainted, the Baltimore Sun reports.

The finding comes as the international police agency Interpol and the World Health Organization coordinated a crackdown on online drug sales worldwide, resulting in 72 Web sites being taken down and the confiscation of 167,000 illicit and counterfeit pills, according to the paper.

As a side note, shortly before John’s death, U.S. Customs and Border Protection sent McCracken a letter saying that agents had intercepted a FedEx parcel of morphine and OxyContin, the paper says.

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