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A dubious edit? Or is it just me?

EcstasyA Sunday Edmonton Journal article describes three girls who "allegedly overdos[ed] on a bad batch of pills" that they thought were ecstasy. The author is wise to use this cautious language, since ecstasy is difficult to overdose on, even intentionally. And he helpfully tells us that the girls fell ill "suddenly", suggesting that these are not the typical cases of brain edema or dehydration which carelessly go into the police blotter (and the newspapers) as "ecstasy overdoses".

My question is, why is the term "overdose" anywhere near this story at all, let alone in the hed and lede? Seems like these girls must have been poisoned by careless drug manufacturers or even by a run-of-the-mill murderer. Any poisoning can technically be described as an "overdose", I suppose, but it leaves the unfair impression that they took too much of whatever they intended to take. Maybe I'm nitpicking, but the whole concept of "overdosing on a bad batch of pills" doesn't make much sense in any context.

[UPDATE, 10:33 pm: CTV Calgary reports "Two teen girls are in comas Monday after they overdosed on ecstasy early Sunday on the Paul First Nation." Oh, electronic journalism, you always win the race to the bottom. Just plain confused: the Calgary Sun, which tells us the girls "reportedly overdosed on ecstasy tablets" but doesn't tell us whose "report" they are citing. Let me guess, it's nobody who has any particular reason to know what the girls actually ingested? A for effort goes to news radio station iNews 880, which uses "overdose" freely but is in pursuit of the real story—that there may be tainted E floating around in the Edmonton market.]


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Comments (3)

Lord Bob:

Could be worse. Here on the West Coast, our police officers insist that people keep dying of taser overdoses.

Alex B.:

I've often wondered if the overuse of the "overdose" tag was more journalistic laziness, or some-sort of collusion with law enforcement's drug "racket".

One of my favourite local stories was about some poor bastard that got caught with 1000 or so ecstasy pills--and a few vials of ketamine.

The paper used the bust for a nice scary headline: "Police Seize Date Rape Drug". The story had some nice quotes from police about warning women not to leave drinks unattended etc. etc.

It was nice of the paper not to bother mentioning that ketamine is a recreational drug and is mostly associated with raves and the sort of people that are likely to buy ecstasy. That tidbit would have ruined a sexy headline and deprived the police of a chance to grandstand and reassert the importance of the War on Drugs.

I'm sure the guy had a fun time trying to cut a deal as a known date rape enabler.

From the iNews page: "Paul Band First Nation Chief Daniel Paul said the band has a strict no-drugs policy but sometimes drugs are used outside band facilities where youth hang out." Paul really should have ran that line by himself a couple of times. A 'strict policy' that is sometimes abused right in front of the Band's own buildings.


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