Solutions to alarming drug overdose deaths presented at forum

Rhode Island College

State leaders and people in recovery gathered Friday to look for solutions to Rhode Island's drug overdose epidemic.

At the forum, several former addicts came together to share their stories with the public.

"You never think I'm going to do this drug and it's going to take over the rest of your life," Rebecca Reilly, a recovering heroin addict told the group.

But for Reilly, it did.

She started using heroin as a teenager. She's now 21 and has been clean for two years.

"My 5-year-plan wasn't to start smoking weed become a heroin addict and then become clean five years after," Reilly said.

Before she was an addict, Reilly said she had the same mentality many soon-to-be addicts probably have right now -- that it couldn't happen to her, especially being brought up in a wealthy, happy home.

"I grew up in a great family. My dad was a lawyer, I had a sister. We have a golden retriever. Everything that looks like the perfect life I had," she said.

"We thought we were completely alone in the world when this happened to us," said Jack Reilly, Rebecca's father.

Rebecca's father came with her to speak at Rhode Island College.

It's one of many forums being held in Rhode Island this year, as the overdose issue takes center stage.

Reilly said talking about it is an important part of removing the stigma.

"You realize your story is not the worst story, and these people have gotten through it," Rebecca Reilly said.

Miriam Hospital announced it will write a prescription for Narcan, the antidote to heroin overdoses. The drug can be picked up at Walgreens pharmacies over the counter and they will also give tutorials on how the drug works.