Rhode Island’s department of health will once again release weekly statistics on accidental drug overdose deaths – instead of monthly. The department has struggled to whittle down a backlog of investigations while keeping the public informed.
The state medical examiner’s office has hired contract physicians to help investigate accidental overdose deaths. They’ve reduced backlog of open cases to fewer than two hundred. And now they will resume the release of weekly updates on confirmed overdose deaths. Health department director Dr. Nicole Alexander-Scott says some health advocates and researchers felt monthly data wasn’t enough.
“I do appreciate the feedback that has expressed to me some benefit to keeping this message up front and center," said Alexander-Scott at the second meeting of the governor's overdose prevention task force.
Weekly updates, even if the investigation is still preliminary, will help keep the spotlight on the one of Rhode Island’s most urgent public health problems, she said.