PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) — Rhode Island's health department says there's been a "second wave" of accidental fatal overdoses in the state.

The department has planned a briefing for Friday morning on what it calls an epidemic and steps being taken to combat it.

There were 27 overdose deaths in the state in January, up from 18 in January 2013 and 15 each in January 2012 and 2011.

The department has reported an increase in overdose deaths associated with the powerful painkiller fentanyl, which has been implicated in a string of fatal overdoses across the Northeast.

Among those expected to speak Friday are Dr. Michael Fine, the health department director; Craig Stenning, head of the state agency that oversees behavioral health; and Col. Steven O'Donnell, superintendent of Rhode Island State Police.


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