testRI releases preliminary results of drug surveillance study

What our results say so far about RI’s drug supply

Of the 90 samples tested to date:

  • 52% were from Providence (47 samples)
  • 14% were from Pawtucket (13 samples)
  • 9% were from West Warwick (8 samples)
  • The remaining 25% were from: West Warwick, Coventry, Rumford, East Providence, Central Falls, North Kingstown, Cumberland, Woonsocket and East Greenwich

Out of the 90 samples tested:

  • 47% of the samples were sold as fentanyl (42 samples)
  • 31% of the samples were sold as stimulants (cocaine, methamphetamine) (28 samples)
  • 8% of the samples were sold as pressed pills (Percocets, Xanax) (7 samples)

Upon testing:

  • 44% of all samples tested contained xylazine
  • Among the stimulant samples (28), 39% (11 samples) contained opioids like fentanyl and fentanyl analogs and tramadol. In addition to fentanyl, 11% (3 samples) also contained xylazine
  • Amongst the pressed pill samples (7), 86% (6 samples) contained fentanyl and xylazine. 1 sample contained a designer benzodiazepine

Implications for the overdose crisis in the state of Rhode Island:

  • The drug supply is changing and it is important to use harm reduction steps even if you are not using opioids.
  • Xylazine is a new tranquilizer being found in the drug supply. The additional symptoms it can cause are concerning.
  • Fentanyl is being found in some meth and cocaine samples.
  • Only a few pressed pills were tested, but a majority of them contained fentanyl and xylazine.



Public health research that is people centered, place oriented, & data driven. We study drugs, infectious diseases + intersecting epidemics.

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