Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Rhode Island health officials estimate nearly 20,000 Rhode Islanders are addicted to opioids – whether prescription painkillers or heroin. But only a few thousand are receiving something called “medication assisted treatment.” 

Aaron Read / RIPR

There’s new federal funding to help Rhode Island fight the opioid addiction and overdose epidemic. The money is going toward better data collection, first responders and an overdose hotline.

International Overdose Awareness Day / Pennington Institute (Australia)

International Overdose Awareness Day is being observed around the globe Wednesday. New Englanders are marking the occasion with several events.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Here's what's happening in health care in Rhode Island, including opposition to a proposed power plant, an Alzheimers study, fewer deer ticks, and remembering overdose victims.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention is warning states about an uptick in the availability of counterfeit painkillers. These drugs are contributing to the ongoing opioid addiction and overdose epidemic.

The pills are labeled as OxyCodone or Xanax, for example, but could contain varying amounts of a much stronger opioid painkiller called fentanyl. These are illicit drugs, sold outside of pharmacies. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

CVS Health and pharmaceutical company Adapt Pharma have struck a deal to offer Narcan discounts to patients without insurance. Narcan is the opioid overdose rescue drug. 

Staff photo / RIPR

Rhode Island Senator Sheldon Whitehouse co-authored a major package of addiction legislation that just passed the House and Senate. It’s called the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, or CARA. And it addresses a range of issues, from preventing addiction among student athletes to helping veterans avoid incarceration. But many of the measures it authorizes have yet to be funded.

Rhode Island Dept. of Health, Brown University School of Public Health

State health officials are expanding efforts to tackle the opioid overdose epidemic. They’ve launched a web site – preventoverdoseri.org - to track overdose, addiction, and treatment statistics. And the state is re-launching a $100,000 public awareness campaign about getting help for addiction. 

Evelyn Simak / Creative Commons

The question of a patient’s privacy came up during this legislative session. Should the family members of a patient who has overdosed be notified about that patient’s hospital stay? It came up again after the shooting in Orlando: can doctors communicate with family or friends about a patient’s status if that patient is still unconscious? 

RIPR file photo

The International Conference on Opioids is underway in Boston today. Rhode Islanders are well represented at the event dedicated to educating doctors about the dangers and benefits of these painkillers.

Aaron Read / RIPR

State lawmakers will consider a suite of bills Tuesday aimed at fighting opioid addiction and overdose. 

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

Evidence is mounting that Prince may have died of a drug overdose. While the medical examiner hasn’t given definitive proof of that, drug overdose in middle age is actually more common than some of us might think. Here's why this group is at high risk.

Welcome to Central Falls sign
RIPR file

A new healthcare effort in Central Falls is getting a boost. A program called the Neighborhood Health Station has won a grant to pay for outreach workers to prevent overdose deaths and reduce emergency room use.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

More than 1,000 Rhode Islanders have died from accidental drug overdoses in the past five years. Many more have been revived, thanks to first responders and emergency room workers.

Kristin Gourlay / RIPR

State lawmakers will consider several bills designed to fight opioid addiction and overdose deaths.

The Senate Committee on Health and Human Services has scheduled a suite of bills designed to address the state’s ongoing heroin and prescription drug crisis. One would mandate insurance coverage for at least 90 days of inpatient addiction treatment for patients who meet certain standards. That’s in contrast to the 30 days or less most insurers allow.