State health officials encourage people to carry naloxone

By The Associated Press

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PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – Health officials are encouraging Rhode Island residents to carry an overdose-reversal medication because of the number of opioid overdoses that occur in public places.

The state Department of Health said Monday about 34 percent of the opioid overdoses emergency medical personnel responded to in 2018 occurred in public places, including streets, restaurants, and beaches. That’s up from 31 percent in 2017 and about 30 percent in 2016.

The department urged residents to carry naloxone, if they’re comfortable doing so.

Health Director Nicole Alexander-Scott says naloxone is easy to use and available over the counter at pharmacies.

U.S. Surgeon General Jerome Adams has also urged more people to carry naloxone.

Rhode Island saw a decrease in opioid-related overdose deaths for the first 10 months of 2018. The annual total will be available soon.

©WLNE-TV/ABC6 2019