Beginning on January 2, 2018, and available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, “any person can visit one of Providence’s 12 fire stations, speak with public safety officials on duty and immediately get connected to treatment support for substance based addiction.
Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza today announced that the City is launching PVD Safe Stations, which provides opioid-dependent and other substance use disorder individuals the ability to connect with treatment and recovery services in Providence. Services will be facilitated by The Providence Center, the state’s leading mental health and addiction treatment provider.
“The opioid epidemic is a growing public health crisis that has swept across our nation,” said Elorza. “PVD Safe Stations is an innovative city-wide response, to help those struggling with addiction and substance use disorders. I, along with state and local partners, are committed to tackling this crisis head-on and will continue to provide opportunities to keep people healthy and safe.”
According to Prevent Overdose RI, approximately one in four of Rhode Island’s overdose deaths occur in Providence.
“We have been very impressed with the action taken by the City of Providence, the Fire Department and The Providence Center in creating this program in response to the opioid crisis,” Rebecca Boss, Director of the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities & Hospitals (BHDDH), said. “We look forward to the launch of Safe Stations as another point of access for those who suffer from substance use disorders. Breaking down barriers to services is crucial to receiving treatment and starting recovery.”
To address this public health issue, Providence has partnered with The Providence Center, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) and BHDDH to create Providence Safe Stations.
“The opioid epidemic has had devastating effects on individuals and communities across the nation,” said Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Paré, who emceed the event at Fire Station 2 on Branch Avenue. “Part of ensuring public safety is making sure that people who are willing to seek help and get on the right path have the support to do so. I thank the Providence Fire Department and partners involved for their work to help curb drug abuse.”
Based on a successful program model from Manchester, New Hampshire, PVD Safe Stations is in alignment with the State of Rhode Island’s Overdose Prevention Action Plan, which includes expansion of peer recovery services and access to treatment options for long-term recovery. The overarching goal for the City and State for PVD Safe Stations is to reduce opioid overdose-related deaths and provide individuals with critical supports.
PVD Safe Stations will launch January 2, 2018 and will be active at all Providence fire stations, though as Commissioner Paré said at the event, the fire stations are able to take people now, as part of a “soft opening.”
Providence City Councilors Nirva LaFortune (Ward 3) and Nicholas Narducci (Ward 4) were on hand to speak in support of the new initiative.
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