Race & Ethnicity


The overdose crisis has touched everybody in Rhode Island. Over the last few years, we’ve seen the overdose death rates for Black and Hispanic Rhode Islanders on the rise.


These are trends happening across the country because of systemic racism. Racism is when people are discriminated against and are treated differently based on their racial or ethnic background. When this discrimination affects people’s ability to get a good house, a good job, and good health care, we call this ‘systemic racism’ because it affects every aspect of their life. As a result, this can put someone at a higher risk of overdose.

Health equity is the idea that everyone has a fair opportunity to be healthy and get the quality care they need. We are working hard to improve health equity in our state by improving access to overdose prevention, treatment, and recovery services.

We use death rates on this page to tell us how many people have died of an overdose taking into account the population size of that group. So if a population group has a lot of deaths but the population size of that group is very large, the rate will be low. Person-years account for changes in time so that rates don’t jump around when different time frames are used.



Black residents in Rhode Island have faced higher rates of overdose death each year compared to other residents. Over time, we see that overdose death rates are increasing fastest among Black and Hispanic Rhode Islanders.


Download Data (RIDOH Data Hub) More Overdose Death Data


Our main treatment strategy is to increase the number of people receiving medications for opioid use disorder each year.


Methadone is one of the three FDA-approved medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder. The graphs below show us the change over time of methadone uptake among different populations of people in Rhode Island. In 2020, we see stable or declining methadone uptake among all groups following two years of growth. Learn more about medications for the treatment of opioid use disorder.


Source (BHDDH) More Treatment Data