Health Care

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
6:00 am
Tue August 19, 2014

With Latino Kids' Asthma Rates High, Researchers Turn To Peer Mentors

Andy Darius, a high school asthma mentor, shows off one of his team sweaters.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Childhood asthma rates are on the rise across the country. In Rhode Island, it’s about 12 percent, according to the state health department - one of the highest rates in New England. Hiding in that statistic: in some inner city schools, almost half the kids have asthma. Now, a new program aims to help some of the most vulnerable kids manage their asthma better in school, with a little help from their peers.

An athlete with asthma

If you’ve never had an asthma attack, here’s what it’s like:

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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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Health Care
3:35 pm
Tue August 12, 2014

Patrick Kennedy: Robin Williams’ Death Highlights Need For Mental Health Care

Former congressman Patrick Kennedy says the death of comedian Robin Williams shouldn’t overshadow the scores of other Americans who suffer from depression.

Kennedy says his heart goes out to Williams’ family: But yesterday Robin Williams was not the only one to take his life. There were 100 other Americans who successfully took their lives yesterday alone, and today there will be another hundred Americans who will successfully take their lives,” he said.

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Health Care
5:00 am
Thu August 7, 2014

Liberians Rally On Statehouse Steps For Ebola Aid

Liberians rally on the steps of the Statehouse.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Liberians living in Rhode Island rallied on the steps of the Statehouse today to draw attention to the Ebola outbreak that’s killed more than 900 people in West Africa. They're seeking donations to send to Liberia to help stop the spread of the disease.

Dozens showed up to march and chant, holding signs that read “Ebola Be Gone” and “no new cases.” Then they gathered on the steps of the Statehouse, cheering on speakers from the Liberian community. Among them was CCRI student Fanta Yah. She says her family is safe so far from the Ebola virus. But of course, she’s worried.

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Health Care
12:21 pm
Mon August 4, 2014

Local Groups Could Benefit From Reed's Overdose Bill

Local efforts to prevent drug overdose deaths could get a boost, if Congress passes new legislation to expand funding to such programs.

Sen. Jack Reed (D-RI) introduced a bill that would make funding available to community organizations and public health agencies to buy and distribute naloxone, or Narcan. That’s a life-saving drug that can reverse an overdose on prescription painkillers or heroin.

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Health Care
3:20 pm
Wed July 30, 2014

HealthSource RI Offers New Plans For Small Businesses

Many small businesses will be renewing health insurance coverage for their employees beginning in September. And HealthSource RI head Christine Ferguson says she hopes small business owners will consider plans on the state’s health insurance exchange. They’ll find some new options this time around, she says.

“We are in the finalization of the plan design. And we have plans that cost less than they cost last year," said Ferguson. "And we have a wider range of options. We have more carriers in the market for individuals as well as on the employer side.”

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Health Care
10:59 am
Tue July 29, 2014

Dense Breast Notification Law Signed

Mammogram shows dense breast tissue on the left, a breast with mostly fatty tissue on the right.
Credit Mayo Clinic

Governor Lincoln Chafee has signed legislation that requires health care providers to tell women if they have dense breast tissue. The law is aimed at helping detect cancers a mammogram might miss.

Dense breast tissue is pretty common, especially in younger women. The issue is that dense tissue can make it more difficult for a mammogram to “see” cancerous growths. You may not be able to tell whether your breasts are made up of more dense tissue, but a radiologist can see it on a mammogram.

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Health Care
5:30 am
Fri July 25, 2014

WaterFire Lighting Spotlights Hepatitis C

This Saturday, WaterFire Providence is dedicated to raising awareness about hepatitis C. Organizers are offering free hepatitis C screenings at the event.

WaterFire volunteers will light more than eighty bonfires along the downtown river on Saturday night. A group called Rhode Island Defeats Hep C, led by Dr. Lynn Taylor, organized the lighting.

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