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Surveillance of Overdose-related Emergency Department Visits in Rhode Island


During March-May 2013, 14 overdose deaths occurred in RI that were caused by acetyl fentanyl, a novel synthetic opioid about five times more potent than heroin1. Ten of these deaths were clustered in March, causing a significant increase over baseline of monthly illicit drug overdose deaths in RI1. Overdose deaths are well described in RI by forensic toxicology testing results. However, the overall number of ED visits associated with this event was unknown. We used RODS data retrospectively to characterize overdose related ED visits in RI and to analyze trends.


Determine if the Rhode Island (RI) Real-time Outbreak and Disease Surveillance (RODS) system (a syndromic surveillance system) identified an increase in overdoses during a known cluster of illicit drug overdose deaths in RI and characterize emergency department (ED) overdose visits during the 15 month period prior to and including the known cluster.

Submitted by elamb on