United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha today announced a series of public discussions and town hall meetings to raise awareness about the rising public health crisis in Rhode Island of opioid addiction, and opioid and heroin overdoses. The programs, announced in a release today, will begin on Monday, September 19, 2016, will reinforce the Department of Justice’s three-fold approach to the opioid and heroin epidemic - prevention and awareness; enforcement; and treatment.
On Friday, Sept. 16, President Barack Obama and Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch designated the week of September 19-23, 2016, as National Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week.
Regional town hall meetings and discussions organized in collaboration with Prevention Coalitions from across Rhode Island, and open to the public, will be held in Providence, South Kingstown, Woonsocket and Middletown on Monday, September 19 thru Thursday, September 22, respectively. Each program will include the screening of the powerful documentary Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opioid Addict; the personal stories of our neighbors touched by the epidemic of drug overdoses that is devastating families across Rhode Island; and a discussion with members of the medical, treatment, education, community-outreach and law enforcement communities. Parents, students, teachers, school administrators and the public are strongly encouraged to join the discussion at these events.
“We are all aware of the opioid/heroin overdose numbers in Rhode Island and across the country. They are staggering, so staggering that it can sometimes be hard to get a handle on this epidemic's real human cost. But behind each number is a person, a real person, with great potential, and with family and others who love them. Some are gone forever, and others are on a path that may soon take them there” said Neronha. “Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week is about raising awareness about existing treatment that can divert people from that path, and about preventing addiction in the first place. Thanks to the continuing, terrific work of so many, Rhode Island is an opioid/heroin treatment and prevention leader. Hopefully our discussions can contribute to this effort.”
On Monday, September 19, 2016, at 10:00 am, at the Brown University School of Professional Studies, 200 Dyer Street, Providence, United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha, joined by United States Senators Jack Reed and Sheldon Whitehouse, will kick off National Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week in Rhode Island with a screening of the powerful documentary Chasing the Dragon; the personal story of a local person impacted by addiction; and a discussion about heroin and opioid addiction awareness with local physicians, treatment specialists, educators, and the leadership of the FBI, DEA, and local law enforcement.
Town hall meetings and discussion events around Rhode Island will continue on Tuesday, September 20, 2016. Each program will include a screening of Chasing the Dragon, the personal stories of local families and individuals impacted by addiction, and a discussion about heroin and opioid addiction awareness with local physicians, treatment specialists, educators, and the leadership of the FBI, DEA, and local law enforcement.
The schedule for Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week programs in Rhode Island for the week of September 19, 2016, is as follows:
Monday, September 19, 2016
Brown University School of Professional Studies
200 Dyer Street, Providence
Tuesday, September 20, 6:30 p.m.
South Kingstown High School Auditorium
215 Columbia Street, Wakefield
Wednesday, September 21, 6:00 p.m.
Woonsocket City Hall, Harris Hall
169 Main Street, Woonsocket
Thursday, September 22, 6:30 p.m.
Middletown Town Hall, Council Chambers
350 Main Road, Middletown
Editorial note: Written from a news release.