Rhode Island tracking opioid Rxs

August 28, 2014

The Rhode Island Department of Health recently began tracking the number of prescriptions written for opioid painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin, according to a report on Rhode Island Public Radio.

The Rhode Island Department of Health recently began tracking the number of prescriptions written for opioid painkillers like OxyContin and Vicodin, according to a report on Rhode Island Public Radio.

Michael Fine, head of the state agency, said 118,000 Rhode Islanders received prescriptions for opioid painkillers in July. He said an estimated four out of five people who use heroin get started on prescription painkillers.

DEA tightens restrictions on hydrocodone combination products

“And that’s not to say that everyone who gets a prescribed narcotic a) doesn’t need it because many people do or b) is going to move on to illicit drugs," Fine said. "But one in 10 Rhode Islanders are exposed to a drug that could very well be the gateway.”

The agency said it hopes to use the information to curb drug abuse and overdose deaths, but did not specify how it would do so.