Health Dept: Risk for overdose deaths remains high

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — The latest statistics from the Rhode Island Department of Health show that deaths from apparent drug overdoses have dropped in June, but may have gone up again in July.

According to Rhode Island Department of Health Director Dr. Michael Fine, the statistics may not tell the whole story, because it takes up to three months to confirm that a death was caused by an overdose.

“The trend looks down. But there’s a difference between apparent and confirmed deaths and it takes 60 to 90 days for us to confirm something we suspect,” said Dr. Fine.

The Department of Health told Eyewitness News there are still 20,000 Rhode Islanders who are using drugs, meaning the risk for overdose deaths remains high.

Dr. Fine cited several initiatives to help save lives, including increased access to an overdose reversal drug and the creation of a governor’s task force on the issue.

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