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Governor's Overdose Task Force Encourages Public to Voice Ideas at Community Meeting

As part of statewide efforts to build stronger, healthier communities, members of the public are invited to contribute their ideas to address Rhode Island's addiction and overdose crisis at a community meeting on September 28, hosted by the Governor's Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force.

The meeting will be held in the Sopkin Auditorium at Miriam Hospital (164 Summit Ave., Providence) on Monday, September 28 from 7:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. and feature three panels, each with an expert speaker and time allotted for public comment and discussion. People who cannot attend the meeting can submit feedback online at

The feedback will inform a strategic plan that the Task Force will deliver in early November to Raimondo. Among other elements, the strategic plan will focus on major initiatives that address prevention, treatment, reversal of overdose, and recovery, as well as performance metrics for measuring success of the initiatives.

The Task Force is co-chaired by Director of Health Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH and Director of the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals Maria Montanaro, MSW.

"Addiction and drug overdose are serious health concerns that Rhode Island needs to address now. In addition to their devastating consequences on individual families, they threaten the health and vitality of Rhode Island's communities and economy," said Alexander-Scott. "Addiction is a disease, but recovery is possible, and working together we can save lives."

"Under Governor Raimondo's leadership, a statewide team with a wealth of experience is addressing this issue head-on. We need to hear from people who are living and experiencing this crisis every day, either themselves or through their family members, classmates, colleagues, neighbors, and friends," said Montanaro.

In 2014, nearly 240 people died of accidental overdoses in Rhode Island. Over the last five years, more than 1,000 Rhode Islanders have died of drug overdoses.

Expert counsel and guidance in the strategic planning process is being provided by Josiah Rich, MD, MPH, Professor of Medicine and Epidemiology at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, Attending Physician at The Miriam Hospital, and Director of the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights at The Miriam Hospital; and Traci Green, PhD, MSc, Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Epidemiology at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University and Boston University. She is also affiliated with the Center for Prisoner Health and Human Rights.

The Task Force is made up of government leaders, healthcare providers, insurers, legislators, and experts in the field of treatment and recovery.

A second community meeting will be held in October. More information about the Task Force can be found online at:

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