- Associated Press - Sunday, June 7, 2015

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - The Rhode Island Department of Health will no longer release monthly data for all suspected drug overdose deaths, just cases that are confirmed.

The Providence Journal reports (http://bit.ly/1T5b8qK ) the department has provided monthly updates for both suspected and apparent cases, but will now only report cases that have complete final toxicology reports. The public will no longer know on a monthly basis whether fatal overdoses in the state are rising or falling.

Health department director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott says the policy change is designed to balance the need for more accurate data with the need for routine data that keeps communities informed.

She says requiring the state’s medical examiner to provide monthly updates of all suspected overdose deaths is taking away from her ability to do work on cases.

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