PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Rhode Island’s illicit drug supply remains unpredictable, according to a recently released study.

The study, dubbed testRI, analyzed the local drug supply and how it may be impacting the ongoing opioid crisis. It was conducted by the People, Place and Health Collective at the Brown University School of Public Health and the Department of Emergency Medicine at the Alpert Medical School.

Over the course of two years, testRI collected 90 drug samples from across the state and examined their contents.

More than half of the samples were collected from Providence. The other samples came from Pawtucket, West Warwick, Warwick, Coventry, East Providence, Central Falls, North Kingstown, Cumberland, Woonsocket and East Greenwich.

The vast majority of the samples were sold as fentanyl, while 31% were sold as stimulants and 8% were sold as pressed pills, according to the study.

Upon testing, the study found that 44% of the samples contained xylazine, which is described as a veterinary tranquilizer that “can cause increased sedation complication overdose events.”

“Naloxone has not been documented to reverse xylazine adverse effects,” the study notes.

The study also found that 39% of stimulant samples contained opioids such as fentanyl, while 11% also contained xylazine. Six of the seven pressed pill samples contained both fentanyl and xylazine.

The study acknowledged that fentanyl-laced drugs have been an ongoing concern.

“While it is a drug that is purchased for use by some, it is also showing up in [some] stimulants,” the study states. “Therefore, it is important that those who use stimulants, like crystal meth and cocaine, follow harm reduction practices to mitigate the risk of overdose.”

The study concluded that Rhode Island’s illicit drug supply is changing, meaning that “people may not know what is in their drugs before using them.”

“This can increase the risk of an overdose,” the study states.

The study suggests drug users consider the following harm reduction practices:

  • Never use alone
  • Keep Naloxone on hand
  • Take it slow
  • Test drugs for fentanyl before taking them
  • Avoid mixing depressants and downers

The study was funded by the Foundation for Opioid Response Efforts.