NEWPORT, R.I. (WPRI) — Newport is set following in Providence’s footsteps, becoming the second city in the state deemed a “safe station community.”
Beginning Friday, anyone battling addiction will be able to visit any of the city’s three fire stations to access free help.
“Just come in, and tell us, ‘I need help,’ and we will get it for you,” Newport Fire Chief Brian Dugan said.
Those choosing to access help will be medically assisted by firefighters, who will help dispose of any illegal drugs or paraphernalia and call the Hope Recovery Center. Anyone who visits a safe station will not be prosecuted.
“They can come in, we can give them an evaluation to make sure they are physically okay,” Dugan explained. “Then, we will call for a specialist, a peer recovery coach that will come in and discuss with them what they need.”
Those in need can access any of the three safe stations 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
The safe stations are located at:
- 21 Marlborough Street
- 100 Old Fort Road
- Touro Street
Newport joins Providence as the state’s second safe station community. Officials said at least 100 people have utilized the program in the capital city since it began.
Adrienne Wood is among those who have gone to a Providence safe station and credits the program for her ability to stay clean.
“It’s everything after you walk through that station that is a key factor to my recovery today,” Wood said. “It’s been a journey and it’s every key component in this program that has saved my life.”
Mayor Jamie Bova said the program will not cost the city any extra money. She said this program is all thanks to the Newport Fire Department, who are the ones responding to overdose calls far too often.
“It shows a commitment to the community and to the wellness of the community that they saw this need and took the steps to fill it,” Bova said.
Bova said the safe stations will be in place as long as they’re needed.