- Associated Press - Thursday, June 4, 2015

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The state Senate has approved bills that would require all middle schools and high schools in Rhode Island to have defibrillators and antidotes to opioid overdoses.

Senate Majority Leader Dominick Ruggerio sponsored the defibrillator bill, which was passed by the Senate Thursday and sent to the House. The North Providence Democrat says it’s time for Rhode Island to join the 20 other states that have made defibrillators mandatory in schools to save lives.

Ruggerio says chances of survival increase nearly 50 percent if defibrillation is performed within five to seven minutes of an incident.

The Senate also approved a bill requiring schools to have opioid overdose antidotes like Narcan on hand and sent it to the House.

Senators cited an epidemic of drug abuse and overdose deaths in the state.

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