Health Care
9:00 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Public Voices Concern Over Growing Number Of Overdose Deaths

A community forum on drug overdose and addiction drew a standing room only crowd at the Miriam hospital last night.  Organizers hope to keep the conversation going beyond the evening’s speeches and questions.

Some 170 people gathered to discuss overdose deaths in Rhode Island at Miriam Hospital.
Some 170 people gathered to discuss overdose deaths in Rhode Island at Miriam Hospital.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

About 170 people gathered in a hospital auditorium for what organizers called a community listening forum about overdose. Speakers and attendees included health officials and addiction treatment providers as well as concerned community members. Candles lined the stage in memory of Rhode Islanders lost to opioid overdose. Opioids like heroin and prescription painkillers have killed more than 45 people here since the beginning of the year.

Speakers recommended making an overdose antidote called Narcan more widely available. They pointed out addiction treatment resources statewide. And then a panel of leaders from medicine, government, and law enforcement turned their chairs around to listen to community members' stories and questions. Organizers plan to start a support group for family and friends who've lost someone to an overdose.

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