Drug overdoses represent a public health crisis that is as urgent as any we have ever confronted in Rhode Island. Over the last 5 years we have lost more than 1,000 people to drug overdoses, and they have come from almost every community in the state. We have a single focus in our work to address this crisis: Save lives.
Governor Raimondo's Overdose Prevention and Intervention Action Plan sets an ambitious goal to reduce opioid overdose deaths by one-third within three years. It builds on $4 million in funding used to expand access to peer recovery and support medication-assisted treatment at the Department of Corrections. In addition, the Governor signed an Executive Order in July 2017 that enhances the existing strategies of the Task Force's Action Plan in the areas of prevention, treatment, rescue and recovery.
Treatment for opioid addiction works, and long-term recovery is possible. Support is also available to individuals living with active addiction and for family members affected by this crisis. We need to continue to work together to remove barriers to effective treatment, including stigma, so the people at highest risk of overdose have a chance to make it in Rhode Island.