Bold design break for LAT overdose series

The Los Angeles Times went to the red ink on Sunday's front page.

The story, by Scott Glover and Lisa Girion, is the first in a series on prescription drug overdose deaths and focuses on a rash of by patients of Huntington Beach pain specialist Dr. Van H. Vu.

The nut grafs:

Prescription drug overdoses now claim more lives than heroin and cocaine combined, fueling a doubling of drug-related deaths in the United States over the last decade.

Health and law enforcement officials seeking to curb the epidemic have focused on how OxyContin, Vicodin, Xanax and other potent pain and anxiety medications are obtained illegally, such as through pharmacy robberies or when teenagers raid their parents' medicine cabinets. Authorities have failed to recognize how often people overdose on medications prescribed for them by their doctors.

A Los Angeles Times investigation has found that in nearly half of the accidental deaths from prescription drugs in four Southern California counties, the deceased had a doctor's prescription for at least one drug that caused or contributed to the death.

Reporters identified a total of 3,733 deaths from prescription drugs from 2006 through 2011 in Los Angeles, Orange, Ventura and San Diego counties.

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