Rhode Island leaders see progress in newly passed FEND Off Fentanyl Act
PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) — Rhode Island leaders met Monday to discuss what’s being done to address the opioid crisis in the state.
The Fentanyl Eradication and Narcotics Deterrence — or FEND — Off Fentanyl Act passed in April. Since then, Sen. Jack Reed, U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown, Rhode Island Attorney General Peter Neronha, and officials from the state Police Chief’s Association and Brown University have led the initiative towards addiction treatment services and improving community safety.
Officials said fentanyl, a relatively newer street drug, is about 50 times stronger than heroin. It’s even more dangerous since it comes as a liquid or a powder and can be easily mixed with other drugs, resulting in accidental overdoses.
The state Department of Health said 434 Rhode Islanders died of an accidental overdose in 2022. Officials said 75% of those cases involved fentanyl.
According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the rate of overdose deaths in the country involving fentanyl has more than tripled from 2016 through 2021.