The opioid epidemic is an ongoing problem in Southern New England that health officials say was made worse by the pandemic.

Data from the Rhode Island Department of Health shows in 2020, the state documented 384 total overdose deaths, by far the most on record. More than 73% of those deaths were attributed to fentanyl, a highly potent painkiller that may get mixed in with illicit drugs like cocaine, heroin and counterfeit pills.

But addiction can also stem from prescription drugs, which were involved in the remaining 27% of overdose deaths last year, and people may turn to illegal substances in the absence of those obtained legitimately.

No matter the substance or the source of the addiction — help is available for those who need it.

In this 12 on 12 Digital Original, 12 News reporter Courtney Carter connects with a man who once struggled with addiction and now runs a recovery center in Providence where people can go to get better.

How to Get Help

When someone is in crisis, experts say they’re often unsure of how to find help, and their loved ones can have trouble approaching the matter.

If you’re suffering from addiction — don’t be afraid to ask for help, whether from a friend, a family member, or one of the services listed below.

If you know or suspect someone has an addiction — ask if you can help. Being there for them is a crucial step and encourage them to seek professional treatment.

Local Resources

Everyone is different, so there’s not one singular path to recovery. Below, you’ll find some of the local options available, which offer different ways to get to the root of the problem and overcome addiction.

Rhode Island

Anchor Recovery Community Center

“A safe, positive, substance-free place for people in recovery and their families. Peer supporters — people with lived experience in recovery — are at Anchor to help you navigate treatment and a full calendar of meetings, social activities and workshops make it your source for recovery resources.”

Providence: 310 Reservoir Ave.
(401) 889-5770
Warwick: 890 Centreville Road
(401) 615-9945

BH Link

Provides access to behavioral health care in a community-based facility 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

For confidential support, call (401) 414-LINK (5465)

  • Under 18? Call 855-543-5465 (KID-LINK)

24-Hour Triage Center: 975 Waterman Ave. in East Providence

“If you or someone you love is going through a mental health or substance abuse crisis, there is information, there is compassion, there is help.”

United Way of Rhode Island

Connecting Rhode Islanders with treatment resources and increasing addiction awareness. Call 211 to speak with staff specially trained to answer addiction-related calls.

The Journey to Hope, Health and Healing

A full service mental health and substance abuse clinic offering comprehensive treatment at four locations:

Johnston: 985 Plainfield St.
(401) 946-0650
Middletown: 26 Valley Road, Suite 202
(401) 552–HOPE (4673)
Providence: 160 Narragansett Ave.
(401) 941-4488
Westerly: 86 Beach St.
(401) 596-0969

“Opioid dependence and other forms of addiction are real medical conditions — ones we know how to treat effectively.”

The Providence Center

Offering patient-centered, recovery-oriented and innovative care. (401) 276-4020

“Through over 60 programs and wraparound services, including food and housing, job training, legal services, primary health care and wellness activities, The Providence Center is committed to meeting the community’s needs.”

Discovery House: Comprehensive Treatment Centers

Providence: 66 Pavilion St.
(401) 461-9110
Woonsocket: 1625 Diamond Hill Road
(401) 762-1511

Addiction Recovery Institute

Substance abuse rehabilitation services in Pawtucket, offering outpatient treatment, cognitive and behavioral therapy and counseling. Located at 31 North Union St. (401) 725-2520

Southeastern Massachusetts

Massachusetts Substance Abuse Helpline

Get help 24 hours a day by calling 800-327-5050.

The Herren Project

Treatment, recovery and prevention of substance use disorder. Call (401) 243-8590 or email to learn more.

Learn to Cope

The support organization offers education, resources and peer support for those struggling with addiction and their families. Call (508) 738-5148 or visit 4 Court St. in Taunton.

Evoke Wellness

Choose recovery over substance abuse by calling (617) 917-3485.

Learn More

Earlier this month, WPRI 12 partnered with Evoke Wellness, the Mark Wahlberg Youth Foundation, the Herren Project and experts from the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and R.I. Department of Health to take an in-depth look at the impact the opioid crisis is having on families.

Just before the pandemic hit, 12 News introduced you to some of the faces of the crisis, from those struggling with addiction and loss to the medical professionals on the front lines.

How Narcan Works

Naloxone, offered referred to by the brand name Narcan, is a medicine that rapidly reverses the effects of an overdose.


Reporter – Courtney Carter
Photographers/Editors – Courtney Carter, Nick Blair
Graphic Designer – Lisa Mandarini

Executive Producer – Shaun Towne
Special Thanks – Jen Quinn, Susan Tracy-Durant, Karen Rezendes

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