overdose

Health Care
3:07 pm
Wed December 18, 2013

To Curb Abuse, Lifespan ERs Adopt Rx Painkiller Guidelines

Rhode Island Hospital and the entire Lifespan network have announced new guidelines for prescribing painkillers in their emergency rooms. ER doctors are trying to address the growing problem of prescription drug abuse and addiction.

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Health Care
8:44 am
Thu October 10, 2013

Doctor's Prescription Pads May Be Part Of RI's Drug Overdose Problem

State health officials say they don’t know why Rhode Island has the nation’s 13th highest rate of accidental deaths caused by illicit drug overdoses.  They say doctors may be part of the problem.

Twenty-eight year old Ross Ricciarelli is a recovering heroin  addict. He got started on Vicodin and progressed to Percocette. When prescriptions became hard to come by he started shooting up.

"I was prescribed them at one point and I really had no idea that it was going to just take me down roads that I never would have imagined that I would have gone down," said Ricciarelli.

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Health Care
4:01 pm
Wed October 9, 2013

New Study Finds Rhode Island Ranks 13th in Overdoes Deaths

State health officials said they don’t know why Rhode Island has the nation’s 13th highest rate of accidental deaths caused by illicit drug overdoses.  But they said doctors may be part of the problem.

Twenty-eight-year-old Ross Ricciarelli is a recovering heroin addict. He got started on Vicodin and progressed to Percocete. When prescriptions became hard to come by he started shooting up.

“I was prescribed them at one point and I really had no idea that it was going to just take me down roads that I never would have imagined that I would have gone down,” said Ricciarelli.

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Health Care
5:00 am
Tue June 18, 2013

Fighting Prescription Drug Abuse, One Log In At a Time

Prescription bottles
Credit US Marine Corps / via Wikimedia Commons

For Rhode Islanders between 15 and 44 years old, the leading cause of death is accidental drug overdose, usually involving prescription painkillers.  State health leaders are calling it an epidemic. There’s growing evidence that tracking the number of pills doctors prescribe to potential abusers might ease the problem. But Rhode Island’s fledgling prescription drug monitoring program is just getting started.

The dark side of opiates

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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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The Pulse
4:38 pm
Fri April 26, 2013

Another RI Doctor Sanctioned for Prescribing Practices

In the past year and a half, according to Rhode Island Department of Health records, seven physicians have been disciplined--some even forced to stop practicing medicine--for improperly prescribing narcotics.

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Health Care
2:56 pm
Wed January 30, 2013

Health director's priorities: end overdose deaths

Dept. of Health director Dr. Michael Fine
Credit Rhode Island Department of Health

Rhode Island Department of Health director Dr. Michael Fine says Rhode Island must address prescription drug abuse. Fine’s comments come as part of a list of priorities he’s shared with lawmakers.

Topping the list: ending deaths from prescription drug overdoses and colorectal cancer, as well as curbing the transmission of new HIV cases in Rhode Island. Fine also wants to reduce the number of premature births and C-section deliveries.

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