Raimondo Calls for $4 Million to Fight Opioid Abuse in RI

Thursday, May 12, 2016

 

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Governor Gina Raimondo unveiled today new plan deisgned at reducing the number of overdose deaths in Rhode Island over the next three years. And, Raimondo has asked the General Assembly to pass the $4 million funding proposal  in this year's budget. The funding, if passed, "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."

As many as 250 Rhode Islanders died from overdose in 2015. Illicit drug overdose deaths have increased 250 percent increase since 2011 and overdose deaths involving fentanyl have grown 15-fold since 2012, according to Raimondo's office.

Half of all overdoses in the state last year were fentanyl-related. 

"Those of us who have experienced the crisis firsthand understand that overdose and addiction do not discriminate," Deborah Parente, a Cranston resident who lost a son to overdose last year, said. "It is heartening to see Governor Raimondo make recovery such a high priority. It is time to end the stigma of addiction in Rhode Island."

The action plan offers detailed policy reforms to prevent addiction, support treatment and promote recovery, including (among others):

  • Develop, implement and enforce regulations that limit most opioid dosing to a contained period of time, with exceptions for high-need patients;
  • Develop clinical guidelines for co-prescribing opioids and benzodiazepines;
  • Aggressive, targeted sanctions to ensure universal enrollment in the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program; 
  • Create a centralized and sustainable fund to maintain an adequate supply of naloxone, which can reverse the effects of a drug overdose;
  • Open Rhode Island's first Center of Excellence before the end of 2016;
  • Expand medication-assisted treatment to the Department of Corrections; 
  • Double the number of certified peer recovery specialists by March 2017; and
  • Create a model discharge and recovery plan to promote recovery services for patients with substance use disorder.

"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," Nicole Alexander-Scott, MD, MPH, Director of Health and a co-chair of the Governor's Task Force, said. "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."

 

 

Related Slideshow: Breakdown of Overdose Deaths in RI - 2009 to 2014

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2009

Total overdose deaths: 137

Both illicit and pharmaceutical drugs: 22

Pharmaceutical drugs only: 84

Illicit drugs only: 31

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2010

Total overdose deaths: 152

Both illicit and pharmaceutical drugs: 36

Pharmaceutical drugs only: 82

Illicit drugs only: 24

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2011

Total overdose deaths: 175

Both illicit and pharmaceutical drugs: 41

Pharmaceutical drugs only: 93

Illicit drugs only: 41

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2012

Total overdose deaths: 182

Both illicit and pharmaceutical drugs: 34

Pharmaceutical drugs only: 85

Illicit drugs only: 63

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2013 (First Half)

Total overdose deaths: 118*

Both illicit and pharmaceutical drugs: 23

Pharmaceutical drugs only: 40

Illicit drugs only: 55

*Data only available for first half of 2013

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2014

Total overdose deaths: 

Both illicit and pharmaceutical drugs: 

Pharmaceutical drugs only: 

Illicit drugs only: 

 
 

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