National Fentanyl Epidemic Started in Rhode Island Says Report
Thursday, March 14, 2019
The Washington Post about the failures of the administrations of President Barack Obama and Donald Trump on combating America’s greatest public health crisis -- drug overdoses -- claim that the Fentanyl epidemic began in Rhode Island.
The Post article cites a CDC Health Advisory from 2013 sent to public health experts:
“Since March 6, 2013, 14 overdose deaths related to a novel, injected non-prescription synthetic opioid have occurred among intravenous drug users in Rhode Island. Ten of those deaths occurred in March. On May 30, 2013, Rhode Island Department of Health confirmed that the implicated synthetic opioid is acetyl fentanyl, a fentanyl analog previously undocumented in illicit drug use. Acetyl fentanyl is not available as a prescription drug in the U.S.
The age of the persons who died from an acetyl fentanyl overdose ranged from 19 – 57 years, and 10 of the decedents were male. The toxicology testing results for most of the decedents showed, in addition to acetyl fentanyl, varying mixtures of drugs, including cocaine, heroin (morphine), ethanol, and benzodiazepines. However, none of these additional substances were present in all decedents and none of these persons tested positive for fentanyl by GC/MS after testing positive for fentanyl by ELISA. Toxicology results for one decedent showed only acetyl fentanyl (by GC/MS) and no other substances. These deaths represent a significant increase in the number of illicit drug overdose deaths compared with the number of cases typically reported in one month in Rhode Island.”
Former Rhode Island Department of Health Director Michael Fine told the Post that when a series of deaths hit in Rhode Island, he asked for a deeper investigation.
The Post Reports:
The first signs were detected in the spring of 2013 when overdose deaths spiked at the state morgue in Providence. Then-Rhode Island Health Director Michael Fine wondered: What was killing so many so quickly?
Fine was surprised to learn when the toxicology reports came back that 12 people who overdosed between March and May had died from fentanyl. They ranged in age from 19 to 57, and most were from the northern part of the state.
Fine notified the CDC about the cluster. On Aug. 30, 2013, the CDC in its Morbidity and Mortality Weekly Report highlighted the unusual spike in Rhode Island. It didn’t attract much national attention.
RI Health Confirms the Post Report
Rhode Island Health Department spokesman Joseph Wendelken confirms the timing of the first national outbreak.
“Rhode Island was one of the first states to start seeing fentanyl deaths, and work happening at the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH)’s State Health Laboratories has played a significant role in the nation’s response to the fentanyl crisis. Acetyl fentanyl, an analog drug of fentanyl, was first identified here at the RIDOH’s State Health Laboratories in 2013. RIDOH State Health Laboratories continue to provide timely detection of fentanyl and fentanyl analogs in seized drugs, and identifies them in fatal and nonfatal overdoses,” said Wendelken in a statement to GoLocalProv.com.
Fentynal gained traction because, “It was 20 times more profitable than heroin by weight. By lacing a little of the white powdery drug into their heroin, the dealers could make their product more potent and more compelling to users. They called it China White, China Girl, Apache, Dance Fever, Goodfella, Murder 8 or Tango & Cash," reports the Post.
- Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths Decline by 4% in MA
- Justice Department, DEA Propose Opioid Manufacturing Reduction in 2019
- Whitcomb: Baseball Romanticism and Capitalism; Opioid Research; Sticking it to the Blue States
- Manufacturing Plant in RI is Becoming the Center of the Opioid Debate Across the U.S.
- Leading National Opioid Activist: Raimondo Should “Be Ashamed” for Taking Tainted Money
- MA Dept. of Health Announces Steps to Reduce Opioid Misuse in Job-Related Injuries
- Guest MINDSETTER™ Rosenthal: Stepped-Up Emphasis on Prevention Essential to Fighting Opioid Epidemic
- EDITORIAL: Raimondo’s Perverse Fundraising - Tobacco, Guns and Opioids
- Prov VA Medical Center Nurse Charged With Tampering & Stealing Prescription Opioids
- Raimondo’s Opioid Link: “Family That Built an Empire of Pain” is Major Donor
- McKee to Donate Opioid Tainted Campaign Money - Raimondo Continues to Refuse
- R.W. Alley: “Raimondo’s Opioid $$$$ addiction”
- GoLocalProv/Harvard’s Della Volpe Poll: Raimondo’s Opioid Money, Whitehouse Leads, Free College
- FL Attorney General Bondi Files Suit Against CVS and Walgreens for Role in Opioid Crisis
- MA Opioid-Related Overdose Deaths Decreased by 4% in 2018
- National Opioid Activist Puts 800-Pound Heroin Spoon at RI’s Rhodes Pharmaceuticals - UPDATED
- Man Sentenced to Federal Prison for Fraudulent Opioid Prescription Conspiracy
- Raimondo Donor Sackler Tied to Opioid Crises, Has Donated Millions to RI Charter School Company
- Reproductive Privacy Act & Opioid Crisis: This Week at the State House
- Health Experts Oppose Addition of Opioid Use Disorder to RI Medical Marijuana Program
- Caldwell Introduces Bill Requiring Pharmacies to Post Opioid Warning Signs
- Raimondo’s Donor Sackler Personally Named in New Opioid Lawsuits — “Conspiracy and Fraud”
- RI State Dentist on Reducing Opioid Prescriptions Among Dentists—and Use in Dental Patients
- Under Raimondo Opioid Deaths in RI Continue to Increase, According to New CDC Data