PROVIDENCE— Family, friends, advocates and experts crammed in the auditorium at Miriam Hospital Wednesday night to discuss the overdose epidemic that has hit our state; killing seven people in the last week.
Director of the Department of Health (HEALTH) Dr. Michael Fine explained that since Jan. 1, 45 people have died from drug overdoses in the state—33 on weekends.
With ages ranging from 20-62 these deaths make Rhode Island the 13th highest state in the country for drug overdose deaths—the highest in New England.
Detective Sgt. Scott Amaral of the West Warwick Police Department explained that while they have not seen any overdose deaths in town this year, they have had three people overdose and taken to the hospital because of heroin.
“For every number there’s a story; drug addiction touches everyone in Rhode Island,” Dr. Fine said. “Too many have lost loved one; these are our colleagues and friends, our brothers and sisters, mothers and fathers.”
Elise Reynolds, a mother who lost her two sons to drug overdoses, shared her story with the crowd to let the health officials know something needs to be done.
When her son Teddy was 21, she said, his friend introduced him to 80mg Oxycodones; her other son Paul was also addicted to opioids.
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