Number of fatal overdoses up to 142 in RI in 2014

The number of fatal overdoses from heroin and prescription drugs in Rhode Island has climbed to 142 this year.

The Providence Journal reports that state Health Director Michael Fine on Thursday called overdoses a major crisis during a seminar on the issue at the Health Department.

Fine says more than 1,000 people have been saved with the antidote Narcan or naloxone and an additional 250 people's lives were saved at emergency rooms.

Traci Green, a professor of emergency medicine and epidemiology at Brown University, said nearly 16 percent of Rhode Island residents are taking pain relievers for non-medical reasons. That's much higher than the national average of 9 percent, and ranks it first in New England.