Rhode Islanders share experiences with prevention and treatment strategies that serve
as national model
Pawtucket, RI- U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse friday hosted U.S. Surgeon General
Dr. Jerome Adams for a discussion about the opioid addiction recovery programs that have made
Rhode Island a national model in the field and influenced Whitehouse’s Comprehensive
Addiction and Recovery Act CCARA). The roundtable meeting with state leaders, people in
recovery, and addiction specialists was held at the Anchor Recovery Community Center in
Pawtucket. The group shared with Dr. Adams their experiences with strategies for addressing
the crisis that have worked in Rhode Island and can serve as a model for other states.
Dr. Adams has prioritized addressing the opioid epidemic as the nation’s top public health
Whitehouse is a lead author of CARA, sweeping bipartisan legislation designed to help save
lives and curb the opioid epidemic, which was signed into law in 2016. While writing the law,
Whitehouse met with members of the addiction community from across Rhode Island and
incorporated their feedback into the legislation. CARl\. established a range of federal policies,
including programs to increase education on drug use, expand medication-assisted treatment,
improve prescription drug monitoring programs, and promote comprehensive state responses to
the opioid crisis.
As a result of CARA, Rhode Island has received $3 million over three years to create Centers of
Excellence for Opioid Use Disorders. The Centers provide rapid access to treatment and
comprehensive services for people struggling with opioid addiction. Ten of these centers, which
are a cornerstone of the Governor’s Overdose Prevention Action Plan, have opened in Rhode
Island since September 2016.
In 2016, 336 Rhode Islanders died of accidental drug overdoses, according to the Department of
Health. In December of last year, the Governor’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task
Force announced that the state saw a g percent decrease in opioid overdose deaths in the first
eight months of2017, compared to the same period the previous year.
While in Rhode Island, Dr. Adams will attend several other meetings on health care, including a
discussion with the state’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force.