PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — Hundreds of municipal officials, first responders, and treatment and recovery specialists on Tuesday took a closer look at some of the overdose response plans being utilized across Rhode Island.
The group was brought together by Gov. Gina Raimondo’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force to highlight effective overdose plans developed by 34 municipalities.
“The overdose epidemic affects every community in our state, and it’s critical that we focus prevention and recovery efforts both at the state and local level,” Raimondo said.
The plans were created using grant money from the R.I. Department of Health, which also provided city and town leaders with overdose statistics tailored to their communities.
Among the plans discussed was Providence’s, which conducts outreach in areas of the city where overdoses most commonly occur. The city partnered with the nonprofit Project Weber/RENEW to distribute hundreds of safer drug use resources to those at higher risk of overdose.
In Richmond and Hopkinton, municipal leaders partnered with RI State Police on the Heroin-Opioid Prevention Effort (HOPE) on post-overdose outreach techniques.
Portsmouth, Tiverton and Little Compton have implemented safe stations, which help people in crisis find treatment and recovery support services. First responders were also trained in Mental Health First-Aid, a national program teaching skills on how to respond to mental illness and substance abuse.
Rhode Island began working on local overdose prevention and response programs back in 2017 at the first Community Overdose Engagement Summit.
Over the past two years, the state has seen a nearly 7% reduction in overdose deaths.