Drug overdose deaths in RI reached record high in 2020

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Dr. Elizabeth Samuels, assistant professor of emergency medicine at Brown University's Warren Alpert Medical School, holds a mock coffin in January, as she joins other medical professionals in a vigil for those who died by drug overdose.

PROVIDENCE — Unintentional drug overdose deaths reached a file excessive of 384 in 2020, the Rhode Island Division of Well being reported Wednesday. Among the many components driving the numbers have been higher use of cocaine, elevated chopping of medication with deadly fentanyl, and alcohol use, the division reported.

Among the many different findings, offered throughout a gathering of Gov. Dan McKee’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Activity Drive:

◘ Three out of 4 (75%) overdose deaths occurred amongst males.

◘ Ninety % of deadly overdose deaths occurred in non-public settings, equivalent to flats and houses. 

◘ Final yr noticed a rise within the price of deadly overdoses in all ages group. Individuals between the ages of 45 and 54 suffered the best improve of burden.

◘ The Black, non-Hispanic inhabitants noticed the very best improve within the price of deadly overdoses from 2016 to 2020. In 2019 and 2020, the Black, non-Hispanic inhabitants had increased charges of deadly overdose when in comparison with the white, non-Hispanic and Hispanic or Latino inhabitants. 

Fentanyl, a lethally potent synthetic opioid, has tainted conventional opioids and driven accidental overdose numbers higher, Rhode Island officials say.

◘ The speed of deadly overdose among the many Hispanic or Latino inhabitants elevated from 2016 to 2020.

These statistics have been compiled after the Well being Division finalized trigger and method of deaths for cases that had until now remained open.

Accidental drug overdose deaths in Rhode Island, 2009 through 2020

McKee attended the assembly, declaring that “this is a crucial subject to me” as governor, and beforehand as lieutenant governor and mayor of Cumberland. 

“I simply wish to specific to all people on the fee my thanks for his or her service, significantly over the past yr,” McKee stated. “We all know it’s been particularly difficult.”

Well being Division Director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott struck that theme, too, noting “the very placing challenges we’ve from an overdose and polysubstance use standpoint.”

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