Rhode Island launches new campaign to combat opioid abuse
Rhode Island has launched a new help line and expanded its public awareness campaign to combat opioid abuse.
Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo made the announcement Monday at the Brown University School of Public Health.
"Let's get rid of the stigma so people can seek the treatment and not be ashamed to seek treatment," she said.
The campaign includes a new phone help line, 401-942-STOP (401-942-7867), connecting people to treatment and recovery services between 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. each day.
It also includes a new website, preventoverdoseri.org , as well as bus ads and TV and radio commercials promoting the message that addiction is a disease and recovery is possible.
The state Department of Health says the drug overdose crisis has claimed more than 1,000 lives in the past five years.
"Read the obituaries," Raimondo said, noting that unlike young people who die of cancer or in a car crash, a person killed by an overdose is often reported to have "died suddenly."
"That means the stigma is alive and well," she said.
The multimedia advertising campaign expands from an earlier campaign that began last year featuring the voices of people who have recovered from addiction and parents who lost a child to an overdose. The campaign is being funded with a $100,000 grant from the federal Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Another $42,000 donation from the Providence-based DelPrete Family Foundation is paying for the new phone help line, which will be answered by licensed addiction and recovery specialists.