- Associated Press - Tuesday, February 18, 2014

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Gov. Lincoln Chafee is calling the spike in overdose deaths in Rhode Island this year “especially troubling.”

The governor said Tuesday he’s “greatly concerned and saddened” by the epidemic in the state and the U.S.

The state health department announced Friday that 38 people have died this year from accidental overdoses. The department has reported an increase in deaths associated with the prescription painkiller fentanyl, which has turned up across the Northeast.

Chafee says health officials, law enforcement and others are working to address the problem. He says steps include sounding the alarm to substance abusers and the public; increasing training in the use of naloxone, an anti-overdose drug; and increasing access to treatment.

State police plan to begin carrying naloxone. Health officials want municipal police to do the same.