heroin

Health Care
9:35 am
Mon March 23, 2015

Price Of Life Saving Anti-Overdose Medication Syrockets

A kit with two doses of naloxone. The drug can be injected in a muscle, or squirted up the nose of someone experiencing an overdose.
Credit 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.

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Health Care
4:18 pm
Fri March 20, 2015

Are Rhode Islanders Aware Of The Dangers Of Fentanyl?

Rhode Island is still grappling with soaring numbers of drug overdose deaths, many of them involving the painkiller fentanyl. It's not clear the message about the dangers of fentanyl is reaching those at risk.

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Health Care
6:00 am
Wed February 18, 2015

Can Murder Charges For Selling Drugs Stop Overdose Deaths?

A providence man has been charged with murder for selling drugs to a woman, who subsequently overdosed.
Credit Aaron Read / RIPR

A Providence man has pleaded not guilty to a murder charge for selling the illicit drug fentanyl - a potent painkiller sometimes laced in heroin - that led to a woman’s overdose death. It’s the first time Rhode Island prosecutors have brought murder charges in connection with an overdose death. But the trend is taking hold nationwide.

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Health Care
2:43 pm
Fri January 9, 2015

Health Dept. Ad Campaign Features Rhode Islanders In Recovery

Jonathan Goyer shares his story of addiction and recovery in the health dept.'s new campaign "Addiction is a disease. Recovery is possible."
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island health officials have rolled out a new campaign against drug addiction. The campaign debuts as the state faces more grim statistics: 232 Rhode Islanders died from apparent accidental drug overdoses in 2014, the same number as in 2013.

You may see their faces on buses, or hear their voices in public service announcements. They’re people in recovery from addiction. They include Jonathan Goyer, a former addict turned recovery counselor. He said  it will take more than advertising to fight drug addiction.

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Health Care
3:26 pm
Mon December 15, 2014

Proposed Rules Could Change Painkiller Prescribing

Donna Policastro, representing Rhode Island nurses, says the proposed regulations are unnecessary.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island health officials are considering new regulations governing how health care providers prescribe painkillers. So far this year, 212 Rhode Islanders have died from accidental drug overdoses, most involving opioids, according to the health department.

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Health Care
6:00 am
Mon November 3, 2014

At The Crossroads, Part 2: Finding Hep C Infections Before It's Too Late

Credit Jake Harper / RIPR

Hepatitis C infects an estimated five million Americans, nearly 20-thousand Rhode Islanders among them. And most of them don’t know it. But many are about to find out. It takes about 20 years for most people to notice any symptoms from hepatitis C, and it was about that long ago most people got infected. Now doctors in Rhode Island and throughout the country are noticing a wave of patients with the kind of advanced liver disease hepatitis C can cause.                                                                               

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The Pulse
10:30 am
Fri October 24, 2014

Opioid Addiction Crisis Fuels Another: Hep C

Addiction usually leaves a wake of chaos, and all kinds of casualties - marriages, jobs, health. Most tragically, the current crisis of opioid addiction (to prescription painkillers and heroin) in Rhode Island has cost too many lives. Well over 160 Rhode Islanders have died from accidental opioid overdoses so far this year. Hundreds more might have joined them had it not been for the rescue drug naloxone.

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RI News
5:16 pm
Fri October 10, 2014

Heroin Ringleaders In Rhode Island Plead Guilty

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.

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The Pulse
4:12 pm
Wed September 17, 2014

Thoughts On A New Bill To Expand Addiction Treatment

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, along with Sen. Rob Portman (R-OH), has introduced legislation that's designed to provide some incentives and resources for states to develop more addiction treatment and prevention programs. It's called the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act of 2014, and here are a few of its provisions, according to a news release from the Senator's office:

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Health Care
2:16 pm
Fri September 12, 2014

More Hospitals To Distribute Overdose Rescue Kits

Narcan, or naloxone, comes in an easy-to-use nasal spray.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island, the Miriam, and Newport Hospitals will be handing out overdose prevention kits to patients at risk. The kits are just one piece of a larger program designed to combat opioid overdose deaths.

The hospitals will distribute overdose kits to patients who have been brought to their emergency rooms because of an overdose. That kit will include Narcan – a drug that can reverse an opioid overdose – in the form of a nasal spray.

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