RI Using Some Promising Tools to Combat Overdose Deaths

Oct 8, 2013

A new report finds that while deaths from prescription drug overdose have doubled in Rhode Island, the state has implemented many of the measures experts say can prevent those deaths.

The Trust for America’s Health surveyed all 50 states on what steps they’re taking to prevent prescription drug abuse. The Trust is a non-partisan think tank focused on disease prevention. Its report ranked Rhode Island near the top at 13th in drug overdose deaths, with a rate of more than 15 deaths per one hundred thousand people. That’s more than double the rate 10 years ago. But on a list of 10 strategies it recommends for combating prescription drug abuse and overdoses, Rhode Island scored a promising eight. Some of those strategies include a good Samaritan law, which provides some immunity for people who call authorities for help for someone experiencing a possible overdose. The Ocean State missed the mark on having a law that requires pharmacies to ask for ID before filling some prescriptions. And it lacks a law that expands access to an overdose prevention drug called Narcan. But some programs to make Narcan more accessible have begun in the state.