Drug Overdose Deaths

Rhode Island Numbers

  • 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.