Drug Overdose Deaths

Purpose

To track drug overdoses, to assist health and social service agencies, public and private, as well as healthcare providers, in the treatment and rehabilitation of people who use drugs.

Key Information

Cause of death attributed to accidental death drug overdoses, the use of naloxone by emergency medical technicians.

Rhode Island Numbers

Accidental Drug Overdose Deaths Occurring in Rhode Island by Month/Year

  • Drug overdoses in Rhode Island are a public health crisis. The number of deaths are increasing.
  • Most overdose deaths are confirmed within 3 months; however, sometimes toxicology test results take longer to confirm.
  • Data for the most recent 3 months are not complete and do not reflect the total number of deaths for the month.

Policy on Identifying and Reporting Confirmed Accidental Drug-Related Overdose Deaths


  • The most recent 3 months of data are not complete and does not reflect the total number of deaths for those months.
  • Fentanyl, a highly potent opioid, poses a great threat and exacerbates our overdose crisis. The number of overdose deaths related to fentanyl has increased 15-fold since 2009. A significant portion of the 2016 deaths involved fentanyl.

  • Like many other states, Rhode Island's overdose crisis began with prescription drugs. Since 2009 deaths caused by prescription drugs have leveled; deaths from illicit drugs are on the rise. Overdose deaths caused by a combination of illicit drugs and prescription medication are up nearly a third since 2011.

  • About 3 out of 4 people who die of an overdose are men.

  • All age groups are affected, but most overdoses occur among adults.