Official: Rhode Island undercounted overdose deaths

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — The head of the Rhode Island Department of Health says the state has undercounted overdose deaths by about 12 percent since 2015.

Nicole Alexander-Scott tells The Providence Journal the undercount of 59 deaths was due to a problem in the state’s overdose database. The actual number of overdose deaths was 290 in 2015, up 32. In 2016, it stands at 259 as of last week, up 27.

Alexander-Scott says the problem came to light last week when the acting chief medical examiner noticed it.

The health department says if information was missing from a case in the database, it wouldn’t be included in the report.

It says the problem did not affect what families were told about their loved one’s death, or what was reported to the federal government.

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