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Overdose deaths in Rhode Island climb to 85

PAWTUCKET (AP) — The Rhode Island health department says seven more people have died of accidental overdoses in Rhode Island, bringing the number this year to 85.

Dr. Michael Fine reported the new number today at an event highlighting the state’s efforts to combat the crisis.

Craig Stenning, director of the state agency that oversees behavioral health, cited two new initiatives, including one where “coaches” trained in substance abuse will be available at hospital emergency rooms in Providence and Pawtucket. The other program will offer physicians access to immediate assessments for patients at high risk of opiate abuse.

State police have completed training in the administration of the anti-overdose drug Narcan and will soon carry it. Other municipal departments are following suit.

Fine called addiction a disease of “staggering impact.”



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