Rhode Island first to develop standards of care

January 1st, 1970

Rhode Island is first in the country to develop standards of care.  Legislation was passed after the deaths of the sons of 2 prominent families.

The standards were developed by the task force with input from hospitals and emergency departments around Rhode Island.

The minimum “Level 3” standards require hospital emergency rooms to do the following:

  • dispense the opioid antidote naloxone to all patients at risk
  • educate all patients who are prescribed opioids on safe storage and disposal
  • provide comprehensive discharge planning to people who overdose, in accordance with the Perry-Goldner Act.
  • screen all patients for substance-use disorder
  • report all overdoses within 48 hours to state Department of Health
  • offer patients peer recovery support services

Providence Journal Mar 8, 2017

GAO recommends that Medicare Expand Oversight Efforts to Reduce Risk of Harm from Opioid Prescriptions

January 1st, 1970

GAO-18-336T: Published: Jan 17, 2017. Publicly Released: Jan 17, 2018.

GAO recommends that Medicare:
1. Gather information on the full number of at-risk beneficiaries receiving high doses of opioids,
2. Identify providers who prescribe high amounts of opioids, and
3. Require plan sponsors to report to CMS on actions related to providers who inappropriately prescribe opioids.


Coroner Battles Heroin Epidemic

January 1st, 1970

When Pam Gay ran for coroner of York County, PA, heroin wasn’t considered a major public health issue. But in 2013 the office investigated 17 overdoses, and Gay’s chief deputy warned, “I think this may be a problem for us next year.” By the end of 2014 62 people died from heroin overdoses, ranking mostly rural York County sixth among Pennsylvania’s 67 counties in per capita heroin deaths. Gay set about transforming the coroner’s office, becoming an advocate for the use of naloxone to save lives. Read Full Report (USA Today Feb 16, 2017)