Rhode Island has the ninth-highest rate of deaths in the nation from drugs, alcohol and suicides, according to a report released Tuesday by the Washington-based nonprofit, Trust for America’s Health.

This week, I’ve been covering Rhode Island’s efforts to change the way we deal with substance abusers who frequent the emergency room (part 1, part 2). I talked to emergency dispatchers, firefighters, addiction treatment specialists, public officials, and more.

Intoxicated "frequent fliers" strain emergency services

Dec 12, 2012

Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare wants you to call 911 if you're having a real emergency. But he says most calls these days - more than 75 percent - aren't emergencies. And that's stretching city resources thin.

"Look, every time we send a rescue out on average to pick up a person anywhere in the city and transport them it's costing the taxpayer $550 dollars."