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RIDOH and BHDDH Partner to Train Healthcare Providers in Medication-Assisted Treatment of Opioid Addiction

More than 215 healthcare providers are registered for a training tomorrow focused on medication-assisted treatment for opioid-use disorders, a pivotal component of the plan developed by Governor Gina M. Raimondo's Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force to tackle Rhode Island's overdose crisis.

Healthcare providers who registered for the event, which is being co-sponsored by the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) and the Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities, and Hospitals (BHDDH), include physicians, physician assistants, nurse practitioners, dentists, and nurses.

"Part of building healthy communities is ensuring that healthcare providers have the tools and resources they need to help us address Rhode Island's drug overdose epidemic," said Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, Director of Health. "Treatment for addiction works, and recovery is possible. Working together and moving quickly at the Governor's direction, we will save lives."

Healthcare providers who complete the training can qualify to deliver medication-assisted treatment, which combines behavioral therapy and medications, such as buprenorphine, to treat substance use disorders. Increasing the number of healthcare providers who are able to deliver medication-assisted treatment is a major strategy in the Task Force's plan.

"Healthcare providers have a vital role to play in our work to address Rhode Island's drug overdose crisis," said Maria Montanaro, Director of BHDDH. "An increase in the number of prescribers who are able to provide medication-assisted treatment will mean hope for people who are living with substance use disorders throughout the state."

"Right now we have approximately 150 prescribers who can provide medication-assisted treatment. We need that number to be closer to 750," said Dr. Alexander-Scott.

In addition to the sessions during the training on medication-assisted treatment, participants will attend sessions on Rhode Island's Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP), another major focus of the strategic plan developed by the Governor's Task Force. The PDMP allows healthcare providers to supplement their patient-history files when making treatment decisions and to know what controlled substances are being prescribed to their patients by others.

The training on Saturday will also include sessions titled "Addressing Pain/Screening and Recognizing Addiction," "Pain Patients and Other Special Populations," and "Good Prescribing Practices."

In addition to RIDOH and BHDDH, the training is being sponsored by the Warren Alpert Medical School, the American Academy of Psychiatry, and the Rhode Island Medical Society. The training is being funded by a grant from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration).

In 2015, 221 people died of unintentional drug overdose deaths in Rhode Island. However, because it often takes several months to confirm drug overdose deaths, that figure will likely rise. In 2014, 241 people died of unintentional drug overdose deaths.

The conference will take place at the Warren Alpert Medical School (222 Richmond Street, Providence) from 7:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. Healthcare providers can still register on-site on the day of the event.

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