drug overdose

RIPR

 


Legislation introduced in the Rhode Island General Assembly could pave the way for distribution of a low-tech tool to prevent overdose deaths.

Jesse Costa / WBUR

The tall, gangly man twists a cone of paper in his hands as stories from nearly 30 years of addiction pour out: the robbery that landed him in prison at 17; never getting his GED; going through the horrors of detox, maybe 40 times, including this latest, which he finished two weeks ago. He's now in a residential unit for at least 30 days.

RIPR FILE

Rhode Island health officials report drug overdose deaths last year declined about 4 percent, the first significant decline in nearly a decade.

The final count, released Monday, showed the decline was not as significant as early reporting suggested. And the decline in opioid-related overdose deaths last year was even smaller – 1.4 percent – state data shows.

RIPR FILE

Fourteen Rhode Island cities and towns are joining a growing legal attack on the makers of prescription opioids.  Lieutenant Governor Dan McKee announced Monday he is leading the local leaders in filing a public nuisance lawsuit targeting makers and wholesalers of prescription opioids. 

RIPR

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.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island communities are taking expired or unused prescription medication for the fifth year in a row through a partnership between the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration, public safety officials, and health advocates.

RI Drug Overdose Deaths Higher Than Reported In 2015

Dec 14, 2016
Aaron Read / RIPR

State health officials say they missed more than two dozen victims of accidental opioid overdose in prior reporting on last year, and the undercount continued into the current calendar year. The problem appears to stem from data entry errors.

Jake Bissaro / The Providence Center

State lawmakers gathered for the signing of the newly reinstated Good Samaritan Overdose Law. The law expired last summer, much to the chagrin of public health advocates.

The law protects people who call 911 for someone who's overdosing from being arrested.

Going forward the law will protect people from being charged for drug possession or use, and from being picked up for violating probation.

Lawmakers put an expiration date on the original bill passed in 2012 in case it conflicted with law enforcement.

Aaron Read / RIPR

Lawmakers and advocates are applauding the speed with which the general assembly has taken up the Good Samaritan Law.

The state senate voted to renew the law, which provides legal protection for those calling 9-1-1 in the event of an overdose emergency. However, the bill does not protect those found to be delivering or selling drugs.

Chief Medical Examiner Placed On Leave

Jul 23, 2015
Rhode Island Department of Health

The state’s chief medical examiner, Dr. Christina Stanley, has been placed on paid leave. That’s according to the department of health, where officials say the move is part of an organizational review and restructuring.

The medical examiner’s office has faced a growing workload, in part because of the number of overdose deaths its staff must investigate. But department officials say the chief’s absence will not impact the progress of investigations. They have contracts with outside physicians who can help complete some tasks.

RIPR FILE

Accidental drug overdose deaths continue to increase in Rhode Island. That’s some of the discouraging news public health experts delivered at a Rhode Island Public Health Association event.

Price Of Life Saving Anti-Overdose Medication Skyrockets

Mar 23, 2015
Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The price of naloxone, a drug that can reverse a drug overdose, has skyrocketed. That’s affecting efforts to prevent overdose deaths. Michelle MacKenzie runs an overdose prevention program at the Miriam Hospital. She says when her program started buying and distributing the injectable overdose rescue drug naloxone, in 2006, it cost about a dollar a vial. Today it’s $15 a vial.

“So if we had to pay $15 a vial, I mean, last year we distributed upwards of 800 kits, which is 1600 vials of naloxone. We would have been like, 200. I mean, think about that,” said MacKenzie.

The House Committee on Health, Education and Welfare took up a bill Wednesday to require schools to stock the anti-overdose drug naloxone.

Commonly referred to as Narcan, naloxone can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose. 

The drug been hailed as a crucial tool in the fight against what health officials have termed an epidemic of opioid overdose deaths.

Heroin Ringleaders In Rhode Island Plead Guilty

Oct 10, 2014

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.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

New England governors met this Tuesday, in a one-hour closed session to discuss the region’s response to opioid problem.

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