Rhode Island

How does your state measure up when it comes to establishing policies that reduce the harms of both drug use and drug prohibition?

Harm Reduction

Does the state permit access to clean syringes for people who inject drugs?

  • YES

Does the state have naloxone training & distribution programs available to the public at syringe exchange programs or other facilities?

  • YES

Does the state have a 911 Good Samaritan law?

  • NO

Does the state have legal methadone access?

  • YES


Are marijuana possession and use legal for medical purposes?

  • YES

Is there a government-regulated distribution system for medical marijuana?

  • NO

More information on medical marijuana:

What are the criminal penalties for marijuana possession?

Criminal Justice

How many people are arrested for a drug offense each year? 

  • 3,557

What are the racial disparities in arrest rates?

  • Total population (2011): white: 86.1%, black: 8.5%, other: 5.5%.
    Drug arrests (2011): 79.3% white, 19.7% black.

What happens to people’s voting rights when they become part of the criminal justice system?

  • Voting rights restored automatically after release from prison.

Rhode Island Dept. of Health: "Time to Add Naloxone to the Toolkit"

February 1, 2013

Message from Rhode Island Dept. of Health to doctors encouraging naloxone prescription.

RI State Good Samaritan Overdose Prevention Act (§12.251 – 2012)

This is the text of Rhode Island's Good Samaritan law.

Law Atlas map of states with Good Samaritan laws

This in an online interactive resource for visualizing the states with Good Samaritan laws.

Parents, Legislators, and National and International Experts Join at Brown University to Discuss the Future of Rhode Island's Drug Treatment, Education, Intervention, Regulatory and Prevention Strategies

Conference Will Kick Off Debate About RI Rep. Ajello’s Marijuana Regulation Bill

Stakeholders to Focus on Drug War’s Effect on Young People, Families, and Communities

Providence, RI – Co mmunity leaders will join state legislators and drug policy experts to deliberate the direction of Rhode Island’s marijuana policy at “New Directions Rhode Island: A Public Safety and Health Approach to Drug Policy,” a statewide conference to be held December 8th at Brown University. The public symposium will convene state leaders alongside policy experts to examine the impact of and alternatives to current drug policies – and call upon Governor Chafee to embrace the growing nationwide momentum behind reform.

Contact: Brad Brockmann (bradbrockmann@gmail.com ) 617-901-9425, Tony Newman (tnewman@drugpolicy.org)  646-335-5384 , or Jared Moffat (jared_moffat@brown.edu) 601-946-9554

Governors of Washington and Rhode Island Petition Federal Government to Reclassify Marijuana to Allow Medical Use

DPA's Ethan Nadelmann Lauds this Development but Notes that Nothing Prevents those States from Implementing their own

Governors Christine Gregoire of Washington and Lincoln D. Chafee of Rhode Island petitioned the federal government today to reclassify marijuana as a drug with accepted medical uses.

Tony Newman 646-335-5384 or Ethan Nadelmann 646-335-2240

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