Rhode Island is top on New England's list for drug overdoses - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

Rhode Island is top on New England's list for drug overdoses

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Joseph Krapf



The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation, along with the Trust for America's Health has reported that Rhode Island's overdose fatality is the worst in New England and 13th in the country.  

The report comes from figures from the Centers for Disease Control.

Some of the data states that drug overdose is the chief cause of accidental fatality in Rhode Island; these deaths have been caused by illegal or prescription drugs.

According to the State Medical Examiner's Office, deaths related to illicit drug overdose have jumped from 53 in 2009 to 97 in 2012.   

Alcohol combined, plays an important role in these drug related deaths as well.  

2013 has shown a reduction of accidental fatalities from prescription drugs such as Vicodin and Oxycodone.

"These data gives us a better understanding of how this epidemic is affecting Rhode Islanders and who is most at risk. The upward trend in illicit drug overdose deaths is especially of concern because we know the IV drugs pose other health risks, such as HIV and Hepatitis C. Thankfully, through key partnerships and effective strategies, we are making some progress in preventing prescription overdose deaths. However we still have a big drug problem in Rhode Island." says Rhode Island Health Department Director Michael Fine at a press release on Wednesday.

Fine was joined by HEALTH and the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH), Rhode Island State Police and recovering addicts.  

Rhode Island's deaths related to drug overdose is not just young adult males, a good percent of the deaths are from people of the ages 40-60.

In Rhode Island there have been three important strategies implemented to help stop accidental drug overdose.

Naloxone, a drug used to reverse overdoses of drugs such as heroin, morphine, and oxycodone is now available over the counter in Walgreens stores.

Rhode Island has also added to the Good Samaritan, now callers to 911 have immunity from prosecution if they are involved with illegal drugs.     

HEALTH has initiated a Prescription Monitoring Programming in September of 2012; this gives the prescribers more control with distribution to their clients as to not over prescribe too many drugs.

This in turn prevents giving individuals without a prescription a better chance to obtain them.     

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