Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) Issues a Provider Advisory

Posted 4 months ago by Eileen Rodgers

August 21, 2019
The Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) is issuing a provider advisory due to recent increases in opioid overdose activity throughout the state.

From Monday, August 12, 2019 to Sunday, August 18, 2019, RIDOH received 44 reports of suspected opioid overdoses from hospital Emergency Departments (EDs). The average number of suspected opioid overdoses reported by all hospital EDs in Rhode Island was 31 per week for the first six months of 2019.

RIDOH requires every health professional and hospital in Rhode Island to report all opioid overdoses or suspected opioid overdoses within 48 hours. RIDOH and BHDDH review weekly opioid overdose data with the 48-Hour Overdose Reporting System; data are collected from 11 different regions, or “overdose action areas.” When the number of suspected opioid overdoses within a specific overdose action area exceeds the threshold for that area, a ROAAR alert is sent to local officials and first responders. A week-long threshold is also set for the state.

We also wanted you to be aware that Rhode Island law enforcement agencies have noted an increase in the circulation of counterfeit opioid pills within the illegal drug market. These counterfeit opioid pills resemble the colors and markings of opioid prescription pain medications (such as Percocet®, OxyContin®, and Vicodin®), and might contain lethal amounts of illegally-made fentanyl. These counterfeit pills are nearly indistinguishable from common prescription opioids.
Suggested provider action steps:
  • When counseling patients following an overdose, please counsel patients who may have taken illegally-made pills not prescribed to them about the risk of overdose and overdose death due to the potential presence of fentanyl in counterfeit pills.
  • When appropriate, counsel patients about the importance of carrying the overdose reversal medicine, naloxone, for overdose rescue.
  • Provide patients with naloxone or provide them with a prescription for naloxone. Naloxone [preventoverdoseri.org], is also available at every Rhode Island pharmacy, community naloxone distribution programs, and in some publicly-placed NaloxBoxes.
  • When appropriate, refer patients to treatment, peer recovery support services, and/or behavioral counseling.
 Additional information to counsel patients: