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Rhode Island

Rhode Island is officially named the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, and is a state in the New England region of the U.S. The state is the smallest state in terms of area, and the least eighth populous, although it is the second most densely populated state in the nation. Rhode Island is bordered by Connecticut and Massachusetts and also shares a water boundary with New Yorks Long Island to the southwest. The estimated population of Rhode Island in 2012 was 1,050,292, with the center of population located in Providence County in the city of Cranston. About 81% of the population of Rhode Island is non-Hispanic White, 12% are Hispanic or Latino, and 3% are Asian. About 59% of the population of the state was born there, 27% were born out of state, 2% are from Puerto Rico, and 13% are foreign born.

The states official nickname is the Ocean State, in reference to the oceanfront beaches and many bays and inlets which make about 14% of the states total area. Narragansett Bay is a major feature in the state, with over 30 islands within the Bay.

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Rhode Island Drug Use Trends

Located in the New England region of the United States, Rhode Island is home to 1,055,173 residents (2014 census). Officially named the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, this state has the longest name of any state in the Union. Nicknamed the "Ocean State", Rhode Island has several oceanfront beaches for residents and visitors to enjoy. The state is densely populated and is a key location for jewelry manufacturing as well as metal, electronics, plastic products and boat/ship construction. Reports on drug use, addiction and overdose rank Rhode Island as having the highest number of drug users among residents over the age of 12. The state also ranks first in past-month illicit drug use, past-year marijuana use, past-month marijuana use, past-year cocaine use and the highest number of illicit drug addiction cases. A greater number of Rhode Island resident's abuse illicit substances than the national average; 13% of residents reported past-month illicit drug use during 2007-2008 while the national average at the time was 8%.

Rhode Island Heroin Addiction

Rhode Island residents struggle with heroin addiction. This substance is the most immediate drug threat facing the population of Rhode Island and the leading reason behind a majority of the Rhode Island drug rehab enrollments during 2013. A majority of the illegal drugs in the state come from New York, Boston, New Jersey and Maryland. Criminal organizations control the majority of Rhode Island's illegal drug market and use the state's geographical location between major drug markets to maintain their operations.

The heroin supply in Rhode Island is primarily smuggled in by Colombian and Mexican drug trafficking organizations. While heroin is an extremely addictive substance, the heroin found in Rhode Island is significantly more powerful than that found in other states; this form of heroin can create dependence in user's by their third time using the drug. Distributed in every region of the state, heroin addiction is a problem for Rhode Island residents from every walk of life.

Rhode Island Heroin Rehab

In 2013, 31.6% (3,635 individuals) of all Rhode Island drug rehab enrollments were for heroin addiction. 71.5% of the individuals receiving heroin addiction treatment during 2013 in Rhode Island were male and 28.5% were female. The largest age group to receive heroin addiction rehabilitation in Rhode Island during 2013 was between 26-30 years old. The first step in heroin addiction recovery is detoxification. While this is a critical step, it is only the first in the long journey to sobriety. Without additional long-term inpatient residential drug rehab the resident will not remain clean. While the length of time necessary for recovery from heroin addiction is different for each individual, research shows that three months in treatment is a general guideline for seeing significant improvement and the ability to achieve long-term abstinence.

Rhode Island Prescription Drug Addiction

Prescription drug addiction affects residents of all ages and communities. As the use of prescription drugs rises, so does the overdose death rate. Rhode Island is a state with the highest rates of residents abusing drugs and dying from them. A prescription drug that is claiming lives across Rhode Island is Fentanyl. This prescription painkiller is eighty times more powerful than morphine and is rarely used for outpatient pain control. In 2014 a homemade synthetic version of the prescription drug Fentanyl took the lives of ten Rhode Island residents. Between January 1st and January 13th, twenty-two residents died due to apparent accidental overdoses. Of these twenty-two overdose deaths, thirteen tested positive for Fentanyl.

The abuse of prescription pain relievers is a serous drug threat in Rhode Island. In 2009, SAMSHA ranked Rhode Island as having the third-highest rate for non-medical use of prescription pain relievers in the country. Many of the prescriptions abused by residents originate with legal prescriptions from physicians, nurses, physician assistants, dentists as well as optometrists. During 2013, it was estimated that more than one-third of Rhode Island's population (360,000) filled prescriptions for controlled substances. Looking through the state's database of every controlled-substance prescription that was filled, the results showed an astounding ninety million doses of tranquilizers, sedatives and narcotics were prescribed to Rhode Island residents during 2013. Several of these prescriptions were for the same 1,400 residents who obtained their prescriptions from five or more prescribers and five or more pharmacies; a red flag for prescription drug abuse.

Rhode Island Prescription Drug Addiction Rehab

While prescription drug addiction is often difficult to overcome, it is by no means impossible to find lasting sobriety. Residents looking to end their prescription drug addiction problem may struggle with maintaining sobriety due to the easier accessibility of pharmaceutical drugs, but with the right treatment program this issue can be prevented. During 2013, an estimated 1,335 individuals enrolled in Rhode Island drug rehab programs for prescription drug addiction. This made up 11.6% of all Rhode Island drug rehab admissions during 2013. 60.5% of those enrolled in Rhode Island prescription drug rehab programs were male and 39.5% were female. The largest age group to receive treatment in Rhode Island for prescription drug addiction was between the ages of 26-30 years old.

Inpatient and residential drug rehab programs are considered the gold standard in overcoming prescription drug addiction. Choosing a long-term program that runs three months or longer is ideal. This length of time allows the recovering resident to go through the detoxification process, begin living life clean and sober during treatment, uncover and address the issues in their life that caused them to abuse prescription drugs, develop healthy was of coping and thriving in their life that do not involve substance use, and work on relapse prevention techniques to avoid succumbing to prescription drug addiction in the future. Through effective prescription drug addiction rehabilitation the resident can overcome their addiction and gain the strength and skills necessary to restore their life.

Population in Rhode Island:1,076,189
State Prison Population in Rhode Island:3,430
Probation Population in Rhode Island:26,085
Violent Crime Rate in Rhode Island:
National Ranking:40
2007 Federal Drug Seizures in Rhode Island:
Cocaine seizures in Rhode Island:0.9 kgs.
Heroin seizures in Rhode Island:0.1 kgs.
Methamphetamine seizures in Rhode Island:0.1 kgs.
Marijuana seizures in Rhode Island:19.1 kgs.
Hashish seizures in Rhode Island:0.0 kgs.
MDMA seizures in Rhode Island:0.0 kgs./202 du
Meth Lab Incidents in Rhode Island:0
(DEA, Rhode Island, and local city Law Enforcement)
Drug Situation in Rhode Island:
  • Cocaine is the drug of choice in Rhode Island.
  • The purity levels of cocaine available in Rhode Island are generally between 50% -90% pure, depending on the amount purchased.
  • Cocaine traffickers in Rhode Island also service customers in Massachusetts, Maine, and New Hampshire.
  • Traffickers of cocaine utilize Rhode Island as a transshipment point for distribution throughout New England.

  • Cocaine is readily available throughout Rhode Island.
  • The cocaine in Rhode Island is transported from South America through Southwest Border States via commercial airlines and motor vehicles with sophisticated hidden hydraulic compartments.
  • Cocaine is also brought into Rhode Island and the rest of New England from the Mexican border, hidden within shipments of legitimate goods being transported by tractor-trailer.
  • Much of the cocaine HCl in Rhode Island is converted into crack cocaine for sale at the retail level.
  • Cocaine in Rhode Island is distributed primarily by Colombian and Dominican traffickers.
  • Most of the cocaine purchased in Rhode Island is transported in by local suppliers who travel to New York and return to distribute the product.
  • Kilograms quantities of cocaine in Rhode Island have had purity levels as high as 90% in 2007.

  • Heroin is widely available in Rhode Island and can be purchased in almost every town and city of Rhode Island.
  • Heroin seized in Rhode Island ranges from 34% - 49% pure, depending on the amount purchased.
  • The majority of the heroin in Rhode Island is Colombian heroin, however in 2007 the Providence Resident Office seized black tar heroin for the first time.
  • Dominican, Colombian, and Puerto Rican traffickers dominate the heroin trafficking market in Rhode Island.
  • The Dominican traffickers network the most among the various ethnic groups and they control the street level distribution of heroin in Rhode Island.
  • Heroin is traditionally transported by courier to Providence, Rhode Island via airplane, train, and automobile for distribution.
  • Heroin is sold at the retail level in Rhode Island in bags, bundles, browns, and bricks.
  • Providence, Rhode Island has seen heroin being packaged in cut off plastic bags containing 10 doses of heroin instead of folded glassine packets. Heroin organizations in have utilized this form of packaging in the past. Traffickers in Rhode Island are packaging heroin this way because it is easier to hide and if they are apprehended they are less likely to be charged with possession with intent to distribute.
  • Kilogram quantities of heroin are available in Rhode Island.

  • Methamphetamine is rarely seen in Rhode Island.
  • The methamphetamine that is encountered in Rhode Island is "crystal meth" and is typically seen in the gay communities.
  • There were 0 meth lab incidents in Rhode Island in 2007.

  • Rhode Island continues to experience a problem with "club drugs," such as MDMA and GHB.
  • MDMA is encountered in various nightclubs located in Providence, Rhode Island and at rave parties throughout the state.
  • The majority of the MDMA seen in Rhode Island comes from Canada, New York, and Boston, MA.

  • Rhode Island supports a widespread and readily available market of large amounts of marijuana.
  • Prices of marijuana vary seasonally in Rhode Island as the supply fluctuates.
  • The marijuana available in Rhode Island is primarily Mexican, and is supplemented by limited amounts of other foreign based and domestic marijuana.
  • Most of the marijuana in Rhode Island is imported from the southwest border via parcel carriers and couriers on commercial airlines.
  • Hydroponically produced marijuana is also available in Rhode Island.
  • Most of the "hydro" marijuana is brought into Rhode Island via tractor trailers and is sold for $3500 - $5000 per pound. Canada is the primary source of supply for this type of marijuana in Rhode Island.

  • The most popular pharmaceutical substance abused in Rhode Island is OxyContin.
  • Much of the diversion of OxyContin in Rhode Island is through fraudulent prescriptions, doctor shopping, pharmacy break-ins, and hospital thefts.
  • OxyContin is being sold in Rhode Island for approximately $1.00 per milligram.

  • In 1995 a program was created known as the DEA Mobile Enforcement Teams, or "MET". This was in response to the overwhelming problem of drugs and drug-related crimes across the nation. There have been two MET deployments in the State of Rhode Island since the inception of the program: Pawtucket and Providence.
  • There were 65 drug violation arrests in Rhode Island in 2007.

  • Drug traffickers operating in Rhode Island exploit every possible avenue to smuggle drugs into Rhode Island. Route 95 links Rhode Island with New York, Bridgeport, and Boston and is vital for the Rhode Island's industries and residents as well as drug traffickers and money launderers. More than 5,000 miles of intrastate roads are traveled in Rhode Island. The Providence Resident Office has cited every major highway, airline carrier, postal service and port of entry being exploited in order to infiltrate drugs into Rhode Island.

  • There are two drug courts currently operating in Rhode Island. According to the Rhode Island Department of Mental Health and Substance Abuse Services, there are currently 58 drug and alcohol treatment centers operating in the state of Rhode Island.

State Policy Offices : Rhode Island

  • Governor's Office Office of the Governor
    State House
    Providence, RI 02903
    (401) 277-2080
  • State Legislative Contact Legislative Council
    State House, Room 101
    82 Smith Street
    Providence, RI 02909
    (401) 277-3757
  • State Drug Program Coordinator Department of Substance Abuse
    P.O. Box 20363
    Cranston, RI 02920
    (401) 464-2091

State Criminal Justice Offices : Rhode Island

  • Attorney General's Office Department of the Attorney General
    72 Pine Street
    Providence, RI 02903
    (401) 274-4400
  • Law Enforcement Planning Governor's Justice Commission
    222 Quaker Lane, Suite 100
    West Warwick, RI 02893
    (401) 277-2620
  • Crime Prevention Office Rhode Island Crime Prevention Association
    99 Veterans Memorial Drive
    Warwick, RI 02886
    (401) 737-2244
  • Statistical Analysis Center Governor's Justice Commission
    222 Quaker Lane, Suite 100
    West Warwick, RI 02886
    (401) 277-2620
  • Uniform Crime Reports Contact Uniform Crime Reports
    Rhode Island State Police
    311 Danielson Pike
    North Scituate, RI 02857
    (401) 647-3311
  • BJA Strategy Preparation Agency Governor's Justice Commission
    222 Quaker Lane, Suite 100
    Warwick, RI 02886
    (401) 277-2620
  • Judicial Agency Office of the State Court Administrator
    Providence County Courthouse
    250 Benefit Street
    Providence, RI 02903
    (401) 277-3263
  • Corrections Agency Department of Corrections
    Staff House
    75 Howard Avenue
    Cranston, RI 02920
    (401) 464-2611

State Health Offices : Rhode Island

  • RADAR Network Agency Office of Substance Abuse
    Policy and Program Development
    Louis Pasteur Building
    P.O. Box 20363
    Cranston, RI 02920
    (401) 464-2191
  • HIV-Prevention Program Department of Health
    Disease Control
    75 Davis Street
    Providence, RI 02908
    (401) 277-2362
  • Drug and Alcohol Agency Office of Substance Abuse
    Policy and Program Development
    Louis Pasteur Building
    P.O. Box 20363
    Cranston, RI 02920
    (401) 464-2191

State Education Office : Rhode Island

  • State Coordinator for Drug-Free Schools State Department of Education
    School Support Services
    22 Hayes Street
    Providence, RI 02908
    (401) 277-2638

Rhode Island: Substance Abuse Trends & Statistics

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Behavioral Health Barometer:
Rhode Island

Rhode Island: Substance Abuse Resources

Drug Rehab Rhode Island Rhode Island Dept of Behavioral Healthcare

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