overdose

Health Care
1:16 pm
Fri February 14, 2014

Drug Overdose Deaths Spike Again; State Police To Carry Antidote

Naloxone, or Narcan, nasal spray, in a kit carried by Quincy, MA police.
Credit 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.

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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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The Pulse
12:49 pm
Mon February 3, 2014

Hearing Heroin Everywhere

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.

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The Pulse
12:31 pm
Wed January 29, 2014

Communities Ask How To Prevent Overdose

RICARES flyer for an overdose prevention community forum on Feb. 5.
Credit RICARES

Two community forums are taking place over the next week to talk about preventing overdose. They couldn't come at a better time.

Overdose kills more Rhode Islanders than any other kind of accident (including traffic and guns). During the first two weeks of January, 22 Rhode Islanders died from presumed illicit drug overdoses. Another two died over the past two weekends, according to a source at the health department.

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The Pulse
12:27 pm
Fri December 27, 2013

The Bottom Health Stories of 2013

Lots of news organizations, including this one, are ticking off the year's top 10 stories. I'd like to run through some of Rhode Island's bottom health stories, meaning the ones least likely to have appeared on radar screens - but which should have. And don't worry: there's some good news in here too!

In no particular order:

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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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