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Death from a drug overdose can be prevented through the use of Naloxone, a drug that is used to counteract the effects of opioids. Dr. Alan Gordon, chief of Butler Hospital's Alcohol and Drug Treatment Services, says, "According to the latest available data from the Center for Disease Control, the rate of drug overdose deaths in the United States has now surpassed the rate of car accident and gun fatalities." Rhode Island ranks among the highest in the country in illicit drug use, non-illicit drug use, non-medical use of prescription pain relievers, and per-capita overdose deaths. In the first four months of 2014, more than 70 Rhode Islanders have died from unintentional overdoses.

If given in time, Naloxone can reverse an opioid overdose by restoring breathing. Naloxone only works to reverse overdoses on opioids, such as methadone, buprenorphine, heroin and pain pills like morphine, codeine, hydrocodone (Vicodin), oxycodone (Oxycontin), and fentanyl.

To help educate the community on the use of Naloxone, Butler Hospital offers these education tools for patients who received a Naloxone kit at Butler Hospital as a refresher to the information they received in the hospital and to anyone in the community who is, or knows someone who is, at risk for an overdose. Please view the video below in its entirety.*

Naloxone Intramuscular Instructions
Naloxone Intranasal Instructions

Dr. Andrea Kretzschmar, a psychiatrist in Butler Hospital's Alcohol and Drug Partial Hospital Program, adds, "Some believe that access to Naloxone will increase drug use because of a perceived safety net. This is not true. Research demonstrates that individuals who receive overdose education and Naloxone use drugs less."

To obtain a Naloxone (Narcan) kit in Rhode Island visit any Walgreens Pharmacy in Rhode Island:

If you are worried about someone abusing pain pills or heroin, go to your local Walgreens and ask for Naloxone. The pharmacist will instruct you how to use it.

If you are using heroin and/or other pain pills, be prepared with a Naloxone life-saving overdose response kit and teach someone else to use it.

Naloxone prescriptions are available at any Walgreens Pharmacy in Rhode Island. Walk in and ask to speak to the pharmacist and ask if the cost of a kit is covered by your health plan.

*Legal Disclaimer: The information on this page should not be construed as medical advice or treatment. Readers should not rely on the information contained on this page for diagnosing or treating any illness, condition, or disorder. If emergency medical or mental health care is needed, call 911 or go to the nearest emergency room. Butler Hospital is not responsible for how readers use the information provided on this page.