- Associated Press - Thursday, September 1, 2016

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Rhode Island officials say deadly drug overdoses involving the powerful painkiller fentanyl are on the rise in the state.

The state Department of Health announced Thursday that there have been 150 drug overdose deaths in the state this year. Officials said fentanyl was involved in 70 percent of overdose deaths in April, 61 percent of overdose deaths in May and 67 percent of overdose deaths in June.

Last year, fentanyl was involved in about 47 percent of the 258 drug overdose deaths in Rhode Island.

A task force created by Gov. Gina Raimondo has been fighting the problem, including educating the public and expanding access to the overdose antidote naloxone.

State health officials say many overdose victims didn’t know the cocaine or heroin they bought was laced with fentanyl.

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