PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island health officials are warning the public that a dangerous opiate drug blamed for 14 overdose deaths in the state this year is now being sold in pill form.
The Department of Health's director, Dr. Michael Fine, says officials found the illegal synthetic opiate acetyl fentanyl in injectable form earlier this year. He says pills brought in for analysis at the State Health Laboratories tested positive for acetyl fentanyl and were packaged to look like oxycodone.
Fine warns that people who think they're buying oxycodone on the street could actually be buying the more dangerous and powerful acetyl fentanyl.
More than 180 Rhode Islanders died from unintentional drug overdoses last year. A new study says the state's overdose death rate, including suicides, is the highest in New England.