The New York Times
May 21, 2016
IMHO The New York Times is notorious for its practice to sometimes place a highly misleading headline to imply something that is belied within the body of the article, as if they want to sway opinion among those that are more prone to skim headlines, rather than more thoroughly digest articles and ask questions.
A recent example of this is with their May 21, 2016 article by Abby Goodnough and Sabrina Travernise about the simultaneous fall in the number of prescriptions in the U.S. being issued for opioids, and the rise in the number of opioid related fatal overdoses.
An honest headline would have been: "U.S. Opioid Prescriptions Down; Deaths Up".
However, the headline appearing on their print edition,
prominently at top right of page one, was: "Prescription Dip Seen as Advance in Opioid Battle"
The headline appearing on the print edition's continuation of this article on page 3 was:
"Opioid Prescriptions Drop For The First Time In 20 Years"
Notably, it is the 2nd rather than the 1st of these headlines that now appears at the top of this article upon the New York Times web-site:
From within the body of the article:
"...for each of the past three years — 2013, 2014 and 2015 — prescriptions have declined, a review of several sources of data shows."
" IMS Health, an information firm whose data on prescribing is used throughout the health care industry, found a 12 percent decline in opioid prescriptions nationally since a peak in 2012. Another data company, Symphony Health Solutions, reported a drop of about 18 percent during those years. Opioid prescriptions have fallen in 49 states since 2013, according to IMS, with some of the sharpest decreases coming in West Virginia, the state considered the center of the opioid epidemic, and in Texas and Oklahoma. (Only South Dakota showed an increase.)" ...
... One important development that may have helped propel the decline came in 2014, when the federal government tightened prescribing rules for one of the most common painkillers: hydrocodone combined with a second analgesic, like acetaminophen. In the first year after the measure took effect, dispensed prescriptions declined by 22 percent, and pills by 16 percent, according to an analysis in JAMA Internal Medicine. Refills — which the change made much more difficult — accounted for 73 percent of the decline.Yet:
" So far, fewer prescriptions have not led to fewer deaths: fatal overdoses from opioids have continued to rise, taking more than 28,000 lives in 2014, according to the most recent federal health data. That number includes deaths from both prescription painkillers, like Percocet, Vicodin and OxyContin, and heroin, an illegal opioid whose use has been rising as access to prescription drugs has tightened."Fewer prescriptions, yet more deaths is see as an advance?
This should be regarded as a textbook example of the New York Times issuing a misleading headline to conform with its slavish devotion to the incorrect position of the political campaign that it has advanced in numerous editorials and quest pieces, in favor of further overriding doctors and patients on decisions regarding opioids.
For more on this, please see my concurrent piece in my other blog "Freedom of Medicine and Diet"