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RI 2014 drug overdose deaths unchanged from 2013

Associated Press - PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) -- State health officials say Rhode Island made no headway in reducing the death toll from apparent accidental drug overdoses in 2014.

Numbers to be released Friday show that 232 deaths were recorded, the same as in 2013.

The Providence Journal reports that state Health Director Michael Fine and others say the increased availability of Narcan, a medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, likely helped keep the death toll from climbing even higher.

Health officials say they've made little progress in curbing the volume of prescription painkillers prescribed and distributed.

Of those who died of drug overdoses in the first six months of 2014, half involved pharmaceutical drugs.

Health officials urge doctors and other health providers to check the state's database of controlled substances before prescribing medication.


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