overdose

Health Care
3:26 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Proposed Rules Could Change Painkiller Prescribing

Donna Policastro, representing Rhode Island nurses, says the proposed regulations are unnecessary.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island health officials are considering new regulations governing how health care providers prescribe painkillers. So far this year, 212 Rhode Islanders have died from accidental drug overdoses, most involving opioids, according to the health department.

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Health Care
4:44 pm
Fri November 7, 2014

RI, CT Prescription Drug Monitoring Programs Linked

Rhode Island and Connecticut's prescription drug monitoring programs will now share information, including the monitoring of opioids like oxycodone (pictured).
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island and Connecticut are now able to share prescription drug data across state lines. Linking the states’ prescription drug monitoring programs is designed to help doctors spot possible abuse and addiction.

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Health Care
3:20 pm
Wed October 29, 2014

School Nurses Dealing With Overdose Epidemic, Too

A package of nasal naloxone, or Narcan, doses. The drug can reverse an opioid overdose in seconds, if used in time.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

School nurse teachers in Rhode Island say they need to have an opioid overdose rescue drug called Narcan on hand in schools. That’s one of several findings of a first-ever survey of school nurses about the use of opioids like prescription painkillers in schools and experiences with overdoses in schools. Overdose educator and University of Rhode Island pharmacy professor Jef Bratberg presented the findings. He says it’s not surprising that schools are affected.

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The Pulse
10:30 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Opioid Addiction Crisis Fuels Another: Hep C

Addiction usually leaves a wake of chaos, and all kinds of casualties - marriages, jobs, health. Most tragically, the current crisis of opioid addiction (to prescription painkillers and heroin) in Rhode Island has cost too many lives. Well over 160 Rhode Islanders have died from accidental opioid overdoses so far this year. Hundreds more might have joined them had it not been for the rescue drug naloxone.

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RI News
5:16 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Heroin Ringleaders In Rhode Island Plead Guilty

Two leaders of a heroin distribution ring have pleaded guilty in Superior Court in Providence to drug and weapons charges. The pleas come after a sixteen-month investigation to disrupt their drug trafficking organization.

Richard Pena and Henry Ortiz pleaded guilty to charges of possession with intent to deliver heroin and fentanyl. State police head Colonel Steven O'Donnell said that’s one result of months of work by a team of investigators from several agencies. The other is busting up a sizeable drug operation.

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Health Care
2:16 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

More Hospitals To Distribute Overdose Rescue Kits

Narcan, or naloxone, comes in an easy-to-use nasal spray.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island, the Miriam, and Newport Hospitals will be handing out overdose prevention kits to patients at risk. The kits are just one piece of a larger program designed to combat opioid overdose deaths.

The hospitals will distribute overdose kits to patients who have been brought to their emergency rooms because of an overdose. That kit will include Narcan – a drug that can reverse an opioid overdose – in the form of a nasal spray.

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The Pulse
12:16 pm
Fri August 22, 2014

Painkiller Rxs Rising, But So Are Deaths From Heroin

Credit Rhode Island Department of Health

The state health department has just published some striking data on numbers of prescription painkillers, stimulants, and other controlled substances prescribed in Rhode Island over a 10 year period.

In January 2014, according to the health department, 1.8 million doses for painkillers were filled in Rhode Island. The numbers have been on a steady incline for 10 years. Check out the red line, below.

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Health Care
5:00 am
Fri August 22, 2014

CVS To Offer Overdose Antidote Narcan Without Prescription

CVS will soon provide the anti-overdose medication Narcan, to customers even without a description. Walgreens was the first nationwide pharmacy chain to provide such as service.
Credit RIPR FILE / Courtesy CVS

CVS Caremark will be joining Walgreens in allowing pharmacists to dispense a life-saving antidote for drug overdoses, without a prescription. That means that soon Narcan will be much more widely available throughout the state.

Rhode Island Hospital drug abuse epidemiologist Traci Green has been working with a statewide overdose prevention task force to get Narcan – also known as naloxone—into as many hands as possible. The drug can rescue someone who has overdosed on an opioid like heroin or prescription painkiller OxyContin.

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Health Care
4:35 pm
Wed August 13, 2014

Debrief: What's Behind the Recent Spike In Overdose Deaths?

127 Rhode Islanders have died from accidental drug overdoses since the beginning of this year. That includes 17 in July alone. The numbers had been declining – down to one overdose death in June. But health department officials are alarmed by the sudden spike.

Rhode Island Public Radio has been tracking the state’s opioid addiction and overdose crisis. Health care reporter Kristin Gourlay joined host Dave Fallon in the studio to talk about the recent increase.

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Health Care
5:00 am
Wed August 13, 2014

To Stop Overdose Deaths, RI Tracks Painkiller Prescriptions

Rhode Island now tracks opioid painkillers prescribed to patients, in an effort to clamp down on addiction and overdoses.
Credit Aaron Read / RIPR

Rhode Island’s health department has started tracking the number of prescriptions written for opioid painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin. Agency head Dr. Michael Fine says that’s because those drugs are addictive. And four out of five people who use heroin got started on prescription painkillers. In July, he says, 118,000 Rhode Islanders got prescriptions for opioid painkillers.

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