Rhode Island’s prison system is offering drug treatment to more inmates. Until now, only inmates who entered prison on medication for opioid addiction were allowed to continue that medication. And only for 60 days. Now, the Adult Correctional Institutions will continue medication for six months or longer, thanks to an infusion of cash in this year’s state budget.
Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse co-authored a major package of addiction legislation that just passed the House and Senate. It’s called the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, or CARA. And it addresses a range of issues, from preventing addiction among student athletes to helping veterans avoid incarceration. But many of the measures it authorizes have yet to be funded.
New research from the Pew Charitable Trusts shows Rhode Island is leading the nation when it comes to reducing painkiller prescriptions. State officials attribute the drop to education for doctors and patients about the risk of opioid overdose.
State health officials are expanding efforts to tackle the opioid overdose epidemic. They’ve launched a web site – preventoverdoseri.org - to track overdose, addiction, and treatment statistics. And the state is re-launching a $100,000 public awareness campaign about getting help for addiction.
The International Conference on Opioids is underway in Boston today. Rhode Islanders are well represented at the event dedicated to educating doctors about the dangers and benefits of these painkillers.
Evidence is mounting that Prince may have died of a drug overdose. While the medical examiner hasn’t given definitive proof of that, drug overdose in middle age is actually more common than some of us might think. Here's why this group is at high risk.
Veterans seeking care at the Providence VA can now sign up for acupuncture treatments. It’s just one of several new alternative medical therapies offered at the VA to try to address pain and mental health.
State lawmakers will consider several bills designed to fight opioid addiction and overdose deaths.
The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services has scheduled a suite of bills designed to address the state’s ongoing heroin and prescription drug crisis. One would mandate insurance coverage for at least 90 days of inpatient addiction treatment for patients who meet certain standards. That’s in contrast to the 30 days or less most insurers allow.
Rhode Island health officials are calling on the Food and Drug Administration to warn consumers about the danger of combining prescription painkillers with anti-anxiety medications. That combination has fueled a rising number of accidental drug overdose deaths.
Hundreds of Rhode Islanders have died from drug overdoses this year – a number that has barely budged from last year, despite numerous state and other efforts to stop it. One of Governor Raimondo’s initiatives was to convene a task force to tackle this crisis.