Drug overdose deaths in Rhode Island continue to decrease

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Health officials in Rhode Island say the number of drug overdose deaths in the state continues to decrease.

Department of Health spokesman Joseph Wendelken said Friday there were 250 overdose deaths from January 2018 through October, compared to 262 deaths during the same period in 2017. He says that represents a 4.6 percent decrease in all overdose deaths and a 6.1 percent decrease in opioid-related deaths.

While the November and December numbers aren’t yet finalized, Wendelken says it looks like the downward trend is continuing.

There were 324 accidental drug overdose deaths in Rhode Island in 2017, down from 336 in 2016.

Massachusetts officials reported Wednesday that opioid-related overdoses there fell by 4 percent in 2018.

Rhode Island’s annual total will be available in a few weeks.

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