22 Drug overdose deaths reported in RI in first 2 weeks of Jan. - ABC6 - Providence, RI and New Bedford, MA News, Weather

22 Drug overdose deaths reported in RI in first 2 weeks of Jan.

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By: Samantha Lavien

slavien@abc6.com

@samanthalavien

The Rhode Island Department of Health is issuing a warning following 22 overdose deaths in the state in the first two weeks of January.

The number of overdoses is twice the normal rate.

Officials say that the overdoses are not from one specific drug, though they do say that 13 of the 19 tested did come up positive for fentanyl or a drug like it in their system. Fentanyl is typically used in general anesthesia.

18 of the 22 deaths have occurred over the past two weekends.

"I think people live in a certain kind of denial sometimes that they can get high without risking death and I think the thing to emphasize here is that getting high is risking death and risking it quite significantly," said Dr. Michael Fine from the Rhode Island Department of Health.

The overdoses do not target any particular group of people in fact those who died range in age from 20 to 62.

Health officials are urging those struggling with drug problems to seek help.

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