PROVIDENCE, R.I. - Governor Gina M. Raimondo unveiled today an action plan aimed at reducing the number of overdose deaths in Rhode Island over the next three years. She also urged the General Assembly to pass the $4 million funding proposal in her FY 2017 budget which expands access to peer recovery and supports medication-assisted treatment at the Department of Corrections.
"We have a single focus in our work to address the overdose crisis: save lives," Raimondo said. "We can't work fast enough across the state to help those most directly affected by this crisis. As a parent, my heart breaks for the hundreds of Rhode Island families who have lost loved ones to addiction and overdose. We must continue to demand action and make swift change to promote prevention, treatment and recovery, and end the stigma of addiction."
What they're saying:
"Our family's loss is sadly not unique. We appreciate Governor Raimondo's efforts to end the stigma of addiction and take meaningful steps to help prevent addiction, promote treatment and save lives. The overdose epidemic that's gripping Rhode Island and the rest of the nation is a public health crisis. Rhode Island's detailed action plan and the Governor's proposed investments in treatment and recovery are critically important and essential steps toward ending the crisis in our state and ensuring that everyone has an opportunity to live a healthy, productive life."
- Barbara Goldner and Brian Goldner, CEO, Hasbro
"Those of us who have experienced the crisis firsthand understand that overdose and addiction do not discriminate. It is heartening to see the Governor make recovery such a high priority. It is time to end the stigma of addiction in Rhode Island."
- Deborah Parente, Parent, Cranston
"I am so pleased to see the changes that are happening, and thankful that Governor Raimondo is listening. She has been handed quite a task and is getting right to it. I am so pleased with the whole overdose action plan, including that physicians are also being held accountable. Fewer opioids being put out on the street will make a difference."
- Elise Reynolds, Parent, Pawtucket
"Rhode Island is facing an overdose crisis like we have never seen before. It impacts all communities and crosses all lines of age, socio-economic status and race. The action plan takes a comprehensive approach to addressing this public health emergency through better prevention, ensuring access to lifesaving rescue medications, and expansion of proven treatment and recovery programs. In the Senate we have been working on components of this for several years, and I am grateful that Governor Raimondo has made it a priority to take action in response to this crisis."
- Senator Joshua Miller, Chairman, Senate Health and Human Services Committee
"CVS Health is dedicated to helping the communities we serve address and prevent opioid abuse through community education, drug abuse prevention and proper disposal of unused medication. Combating this epidemic requires the dedication of all stakeholders and we are proud of the leadership demonstrated in our home state by Governor Raimondo in putting forward a comprehensive plan to address this public health issue and save lives."
- Helena Foulkes, Executive Vice President, CVS Health and President, CVS Pharmacy
"Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island is proud to have supported Rhode Island's Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force and Governor Raimondo in creating an action plan to address the current opioid crisis. We applaud Governor Raimondo for developing a thoughtful, multi-pronged, and collaborative approach and stand ready to support her team. Additionally, we commend the legislative leadership of both the Senate and House in developing this comprehensive response."
- Peter Andruszkiewicz, President and CEO, Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island
"The surge in drug overdoses touches many Rhode Islanders directly and indirectly, straining resources and costing lives. Promoting policies that lead to healthy lives is a priority of ours. This comprehensive plan to support prevention, recovery, treatment and rescue reflects the urgency of the situation, and the investment is critical to addressing this crisis."
- Neil Steinberg, President and CEO, Rhode Island Foundation
"As a leader in healthcare and the state's initiative to redesign the way we deliver health services, I am pleased to see Governor Raimondo has put forward a budget proposal and operating plan that addresses the behavior healthcare needs of Rhode Island. This investment will build upon the vision Rhode Islanders have for a healthcare system that keeps people well and out of the hospital by expanding access to effective treatment and the recovery supports required to improve the health and wellness of individuals living with substance use disorder. Recognizing that this is a public health issue, not a criminal one, is a brave and critical first step toward containing this epidemic."
- Dennis D. Keefe, President and CEO, Care New England
"The RI Medical Society welcomes Gov. Raimondo's Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force Action Plan to significantly reduce opioid overdose deaths in RI. We applaud the Governor's comprehensive approach of prevention, treatment and recovery that makes RI a national leader in attacking this public health crisis with evidence based strategies and broad community support. We look forward to working with the Governor's administration and the American Medical Association to provide resources and tools to the prescriber community to increase awareness and identify resources for patients with substance use issues."
- Russell Settipane, M.D., President, Rhode Island Medical Society
"Rhode Island's focus on expanding access to effective treatment, including in the prison system, is promising. Individuals in treatment are less likely to relapse and to die of overdose. Every opportunity to expand access to evidence-based treatment is a chance to save more lives."
- Joshua Sharfstein, M.D., Associate Dean for Public Health Practice and Training, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health
"Like the four legs of a study chair, the four initiatives of the Strategic Plan for Rhode Island support the state's commitment to reducing overdose deaths and saving lives. This approach is bold and unprecedented, as we need to be in the face of the challenges at hand."
- Traci C. Green, Ph.D., M.Sc., Deputy Director, Boston Medical Center Injury Prevention Center and Associate Professor of Emergency Medicine and Epidemiology at the Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University
"Our caregivers are on the front lines of this fight, working every day to save lives and end the tragedies tied to opioid abuse. At Lifespan, we are dedicated to doing all that we can to take action to confront this crisis and help the people who need it. We are very supportive of any and all efforts to advance solutions to this complex and devastating issue. The governor's proposal appears to be such an effort."
- Timothy J. Babineau, MD, President and Chief Executive Officer of Lifespan
"Recovery from addiction is a lifelong journey no different from any other chronic disease. The Providence Center and Anchor Recovery Community Center are pleased to be a partner in Governor Raimondo's statewide plan to raise awareness, end stigma and increase access to the recovery supports needed by individuals living with substance use disorder. This investment in Certified Peer Recovery Specialists builds upon our vision to provide lifetime access to recovery supports for every Rhode Islander who needs them."
- Dale K. Klatzker, Ph.D., President, The Providence Center
"For every overdose death, there are approximately 100 individuals and families suffering with this devastating disease of opioid addiction. To accomplish our mission of saving lives we need policy changes, stigma reduction, and funding. The Governor has included those key components in this Action Plan. Bringing together our colleagues in government, law enforcement, the medical community and our many partners, we will reduce overdose deaths and stand up to this crisis."
- Maria Montanaro, MSW, Director, Rhode Island Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals
"This public health crisis is devastating families and communities throughout Rhode Island. The Action Plan we have developed under the leadership of Governor Raimondo is a swift, firm response that will save lives. Through the Action Plan, we will be dispatching treatment, rescue, and recovery resources to people at highest risk for overdosing, and rolling out a clear, coordinated plan to prevent people from developing substance use disorders to begin with."
- Nicole Alexander-Scott, M.D., M.P.H., Director, Rhode Island Department of Health
"Our first responsibility as law enforcement professionals is the safety and well-being of our people and those we are sworn to serve. This crisis demands a comprehensive partnership in order to drastically reduce the tragedies this epidemic creates."
- Colonel Steven G. O'Donnell, Superintendent, Rhode Island State Police
The complete action plan is available at the link below.