drugs

Rhode Island's health department director says 45 Rhode Islanders have died from overdoses so far this year. Concerns are growing that a dangerous combination of heroin and Fentanyl is continuing to kill unsuspecting users. The state medical examiner is still investigating, but Fentanyl is suspected in many of these deaths. It's a powerful painkiller, up to 80 times more powerful than heroin. In combination it can kill even habitual users quickly. There's an antidote for overdoses from opioids like heroin and other painkillers. It's called Narcan.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

State health authorities say 38 Rhode Islanders have died from suspected illicit IV drug overdoses so far this year, possibly from drugs that may have been laced with a powerful substance called fentanyl. That's despite public warnings the drugs might be tainted.

Drug dealers may be adding synthetic fentanyl to heroin to boost potency or stretch the supply to make more money. But what their customers may not know is that this particular compound is many times more potent than heroin and can kill even habitual IV drug users the first time they take it.

Has heroin abuse reached epidemic proportions? What about painkiller abuse? Or are we just hearing more about it?

The academic jury is still out on this, as far as I can tell. Of course, it doesn't really matter what you call it if you've lost a loved one to heroin overdose.

C. Difficile is a highly contagious infection people can catch in hospitals or after taking antibiotics. It sickens many and kills about 14,000 people every year. But there’s hope for preventing these infections as a new vaccine moves into the clinical trial phase. The Miriam Hospital is participating in the trial.

RIPR FILE

A Brown University engineering professor has been recognized for her work inventing better ways to deliver drugs into the human body, including an innovation that may help diabetics.

It's World AIDS Day, and in Rhode Island several events are taking place to mark it, including an event earlier at the statehouse with the Rhode Island Coalition for HIV Prevention and announcements about new prevention initiatives by the Rhode Island Dept. of Health (more on those later).

That's the question vexing public health directors - and anyone with a loved one who's experienced one -  everywhere. That includes Rhode Island, where health department chief Dr. Michael Fine named combating prescription drug overdose deaths one of his top priorities.

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.

To recommend, or not to recommend, medicinal marijuana? That's the question recently posed in a New England Journal of Medicine interactive online poll. To get a feel for physicians' opinions, NEJM presented readers with a fictional clinical situation. Here's the scenario:

US Dept. of Health and Human Services / Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration
Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The General Assembly is scheduled to hear testimony today on legislation banning drugs like synthetic marijuana and bath salts. The proposed legislation comes from Rhode Island's Attorney General.

There's lots going on, legislatively speaking, in the world of addiction and especially marijuana (including the fake kind). At stake: whether marijuana will be legalized (it's already approved for medical use in the state) and whether fake marijuana will be banned.

A proposal is taking shape to divert frequent users of emergency rooms into a substance abuse treatment facility, instead. Rhode Island’s Department of Behavioral Healthcare has pitched a pilot program for Providence that would transport drunk or high people to a sobering center. Staff there could then connect them with more treatment or housing and job services. Dale Klatzker heads The Providence Center, one of the state’s largest community mental health organizations. He says marshaling the resources to address this social problem will be difficult.

Thursday, January 31, 2013

Jan 31, 2013

Heavy winds, heavy rain, and warmer than usual temperatures.  We have an interesting start to  the day.  State education officials are defending standardized test scores as a requirement for high school diplomas. These stories and more on the RIPR Morning News Podcast.


Do you have insight or expertise on this topic? Please email us, we'd like to hear from you.  news@ripr.org

(PROVIDENCE, RI) Another compounding pharmacy in Rhode Island has been shuttered and the pharmacist in charge barred from practicing. And once again, cleanliness and record-keeping played a part.

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