Fentanyl Responsible for the Bulk of Overdoses in Rhode Island

Recent data compiled by the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) found that 74% of overdoses between January and December of 2022 involved fentanyl.

Fentanyl is a powerful synthetic prescription opioid that is often manufactured illegally and mixed with less potent drugs to make them stronger or mask their inefficacy. It is between 80 to 100 times more potent than morphine. According to the Drug Enforcement Administration, as little as 2 milligrams of fentanyl can be enough to cause a fatal overdose.

The number of overdoses in general in the Ocean State have been on the rise since 2020. Researchers theorize that this uptick was largely due to the COVID-19 pandemic, which required people to self-isolate, cost many their jobs, and caused a significant increase in stress, which may have led to more drug use.

Drug misuse has always been dangerous, but the spike in drugs cut with fentanyl coupled with more people doing them in isolation has made it much more deadly. “If you do use drugs, do not use alone, and make sure that your friends and family have naloxone available,” said Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH.

What Is Naloxone and How Can It Help?

Naloxone is an opioid overdose reversal drug, that is administered either as a nasal spray or injection. It works by binding to opioid receptors, reversing and blocking other opioids from taking effect, buying more time for emergency services to arrive on the scene.

Naloxone will have no effect on a person if they have not taken any opioids. In Rhode Island, naloxone devices like Narcan, are available at many pharmacies and do not require a prescription.

Also, Good Samaritan laws in Rhode Island prevent someone from being arrested for administering naloxone to someone suffering an overdose.

Knowing how to respond to an overdose is crucial. However, prevention and addiction treatment may be even more important in curbing the opioid overdose epidemic.

Fortunately, while substance use disorder is a devastating chronic illness, it is also treatable. Often, it just requires getting the right help.

What Does Addiction Treatment Involve?

Addiction treatment is a highly individualized process—certain settings and methods may work better for some than they do others. However, years of research have culminated in evidence-based approaches that have been proven effective in helping people get sober and remain in long-term recovery.

Treatment for addiction typically begins with detoxification, which allows a patient to withdraw from drugs or alcohol safely and more comfortably under doctor’s supervision.

While important, detox alone is not often effective keeping someone in long-term recovery. That’s why rehabilitation is important. Addiction rehab usually combines therapy with medication-assisted treatment to rewire destructive thought patterns in a patient’s mind, teaching them to recognize and overcome triggers that lead them to use substances, as well as motivate them to stay sober.

Addiction Treatment in New England

Don’t let addiction take control of your life any longer. Call us today at to learn more about addiction treatment at AdCare. There are two inpatient AdCare facilities, one drug rehab in Massachusetts, and one drug rehab in Rhode Island.

AdCare also offers outpatient treatment and has sister facilities across the United States as well. Call us today to learn more about our comprehensive addiction treatment options.

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AdCare has multiple locations throughout Massachusetts and Rhode Island, making it easily accessible to most parts of New England. We offer an integrated system of care and have been helping individuals and families struggling with addiction for 45 years. Take the next step toward recovery: learn more about our addiction treatment programs in MA and RI or learn about how rehab is affordable for everyone.