PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - A report says easy illegal access to prescription painkillers, especially fentanyl, appears to be a leading cause of overdose deaths in Rhode Island this year.
The Providence Journal reports (http://bit.ly/NATDRn) the numbers released Friday by the state medical examiner's office are a change from recent years when there were more overdoses from drugs that had been legally prescribed.
The report says there were 69 accidental overdose deaths so far this year. Initial blood screening has been done on 65, and 41 tested positive for fentanyl. Two had been prescribed fentanyl and one was using a patch illegally. Among the 38 people illegally using fentanyl, 20 were found with illegal drug paraphernalia.
Among 28 confirmed overdose victims for whom toxicology testing is complete, four were using prescribed drugs, 17 were using illegal drugs, and seven a combination.
Information from: The Providence Journal, http://www.providencejournal.com