opioids

Local Feature
5:41 pm
Sun March 9, 2014

Killer Drugs: Tackling Opioid Addiction And Overdose

Bottle of Oxycodone Tablets
Kristin Gourlay RIPR

A special report on the epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose. We examine how our problem with prescription painkiller and heroin addiction and overdose got so bad, what it's like to respond to this crisis on the front lines, and how communities, and addicts, can recover.

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Health Care
9:30 am
Thu March 6, 2014

Parsing Out Rhode Island's Overdose Epidemic

Opioids like oxycodone have contributed to the record numbers of overdose deaths in Rhode Island.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

In the first 9 weeks of this year, 55 Rhode Islanders have died from apparent drug overdoses. Overdose has been the number one cause of accidental death in Rhode Island since 2008, but the problem has been drawing more attention in recent days because of the surprising number of deaths this year alone. Rhode Island Public Radio health care reporter Kristin Gourlay has been at work on a documentary about drug overdose and addiction since well before the flood of recent headlines.

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Health Care
9:00 am
Thu February 20, 2014

Public Voices Concern Over Growing Number Of Overdose Deaths

Some 170 people gathered to discuss overdose deaths in Rhode Island at Miriam Hospital.
Credit Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

A community forum on drug overdose and addiction drew a standing room only crowd at the Miriam hospital last night.  Organizers hope to keep the conversation going beyond the evening’s speeches and questions.

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Health Care
11:24 am
Fri February 7, 2014

Overdose Memory Map

Help us remember those we've lost to drug overdoses.

Overdoses are claiming more and more lives in our communities. We invite you to share memories of loved ones and friends you've lost to a drug overdose on this shared map. Just drop a pin on the place where the overdose happened or where your loved one lived (no street numbers, just street names, corners, places, etc.), add your loved one's name and date of death, and share a memory or two - a sentence, a word, a prayer, whatever you'd like.

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Health Care
12:55 pm
Tue February 4, 2014

Agency Issues "Emergency Rules" In Drug Overdose Crisis

Credit Aaron Read / RIPR

Rhode Island’s Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals has issued emergency regulations in response to the recent spike in drug overdose deaths.

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Health Care
3:58 pm
Tue December 3, 2013

State Lawmakers: Close Gaps In Rx Monitoring Program

State lawmakers are looking at ways to strengthen Rhode Island’s prescription drug monitoring program. They say there are too many gaps in the current system that allow people to abuse prescription drugs.

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Health Care
1:10 pm
Tue October 8, 2013

RI Using Some Promising Tools to Combat Overdose Deaths

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.

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The Pulse
2:36 pm
Mon June 17, 2013

Prescribing Painkillers: What the Health Dept. Recommends

Recently, I reported on Rhode Island's fledgling prescription drug monitoring program (listen to that story here). It's a program that's supposed to spot troubling trends in prescription drug misuse. And as you might know, there's plenty of trouble to spot in Rhode Island, where prescription drug overdose death rates have soared along with rates of addiction to narcotic painkillers.

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Health Care
4:24 pm
Thu May 30, 2013

RI Health Dept. Identifies Killer Synthetic Drug

State health officials say they have solved the mystery of a synthetic drug that’s now killed 12 people.

Department of Health officials say those who died appear to have been intravenous drug users. Most came from northern Rhode Island. It took the department’s own scientists, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and an independent testing lab to identify the drug the deceased were injecting. It’s a synthetic opioid called acetyl fentanyl, similar to morphine. It’s man-made, illegal, and doctors don’t prescribe it.

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The Pulse
4:03 pm
Mon May 13, 2013

Drug Overdose Deaths; Tracking Opioid Prescribers

Credit Centers for Disease Control and Prevention

Opioids are narcotic painkillers, and they include popular drugs with brand names like OxyContin, Vicodin, and Demerol. Heroin is another. And while the former have eased the pain of many, all of these drugs are potential killers. They're incredibly addictive. And prescription drug overdose deaths, according to what many health care providers and experts tell me, have reached epidemic status in Rhode Island.

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