Addiction is not a crime, it's a disease.
After years of increasing sales of prescription opioid pain medications, the United States is now experiencing one of the worst opioid addiction and overdose epidemics in living memory. Public health officials at the World Health Organization and other credible research organizations have called for the decriminalization of drug use and the expansion of harm reduction services, such as clean needle exchanges, free infectious disease screenings, and medication-assisted therapy, as necessary and critical steps towards reversing the rising tide of opioid-related deaths.
In 2013 Protect Families First launched an ongoing campaign called Project H.O.P.E. to raise awareness about the problem of opioid overdose and provide harm reduction trainings and services to at-risk users and their loved ones. So far, more than 1,500 Rhode Islanders have completed these trainings and learned how to save a life in the event of an overdose. We conduct weekly trainings with inmates at the Rhode Island Adult Correctional Institute in Cranston, RI as well as on-site trainings with various organizations and service providers around the state, including recovery community centers, nonprofit organizations, colleges, and police departments.
Here's what we're doing to help stop overdose and save lives
- We're expanding access to the life-saving medication naloxone. In partnership with public health service providers at The Miriam Hospital, we provide harm reduction trainings and free kits of intramuscular naloxone to at-risk individuals and their loved ones. Request a training.
- We're educating the public about the importance of increasing harm reduction services and decriminalizing drug use as a way to lower the incidence of drug overdose, decrease prison recidivism, and keep families intact.