Prescription drug abuse is a serious problem around the country, and every state has its own measures for combatting the issue. In Rhode Island, that means providing residents with the resources they need to identify why they started abusing prescription drugs in the first place so they can enter recovery and avoid relapsing.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), 247 people in Rhode Island died of a drug overdose in 2014. This figure is higher than the number of people who died of homicide, suicide, or traffic accidents that same year combined.
Prescription drug abuse is an epidemic in the state, and in 2013, Rhode Island had the highest overdose rate in New England. The Department of Health reports that roughly three out of four people who die from a drug overdose are male; however, anyone can fall victim to addiction. Luckily, there is help available for those who need it.
Here are just some of the resources available in Rhode Island for those who are suffering from prescription drug addiction:
Narcotics Anonymous (NA) is a global organization that operates 67,000 community meetings every week in 139 countries. Founded in 1953, NA aims to facilitate recovery through a 12-Step program.
At NA, they do not focus on one particular substance, and anyone struggling with a prescription drug addiction is welcome to participate. You can find a meeting near you by visiting the New England Region of Narcotics Anonymous or the Greater Providence Area of Narcotics Anonymous. In general, people typically attend NA meetings after they have already completed a treatment program at a healthcare facility and are trying to stay sober. For many participants, NA meetings provide invaluable support that helps them stay in recovery.
Project Link is a collaboration between Women & Infants Hospital and The Providence Center. Their outpatient services aim to help pregnant and postpartum women who are struggling with substance use disorders and prescription drug addiction. This program offers onsite childcare services as well, to ensure mothers can attend therapy sessions.
If you, or a loved one, are struggling with addiction to prescription drugs, you can find help by calling Rhode Island’s Help Line at (401) 942-STOP [(401) 942-7867]. Trained operators are available daily between the hours of 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. to connect you with treatment programs and other recovery services. State administrators hope the helpline will combat Rhode Island’s growing problem regarding opioid abuse and overdose.
Prevent Overdose RI is an engaging and informative website that aims to address the opioid overdose epidemic around the state. The site has resources for first responders, healthcare providers, and family and friends of those who are currently suffering from addiction. Ultimately, Prevent Overdose RI aims to save lives by educating people who can directly influence overdose fatality rates.
For example, one of their action plans is to increase access to naloxone kits statewide. Naloxone can block or reverse the effects that opioids have on the body, and nearly every fatal opioid overdose is preventable with access to naloxone. According to Rhode Island’s Strategic Plan on Addiction and Overdose, none of the overdose deaths that occurred in Rhode Island in 2015 noted that naloxone was administered prior to the ambulance arriving. If it had been, some of those overdose deaths might have been prevented.
Veterans who suffer from prescription drug addiction can turn to the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs for help. At the Providence VA Medical Center, they provide Collaborative Addiction and Recovery Services (CARS), which take an interdisciplinary team approach to treating addiction and other substance use disorders. Their compassionate staff understands that the most successful treatment programs take a multifaceted approach to combatting addiction and address the psychical, social, and emotional repercussions of the disease.
Because the characteristics of addiction can vary greatly from person to person, CARS welcomes every patient with a comprehensive evaluation, which allows providers to devise a customized treatment plan for each one. The most effective treatment plans will help veterans develop coping skills that will aid in their recovery. From medication-assisted treatment and individual counseling to group psychotherapy and VA-sponsored halfway houses, CARS offers something for everyone, including those individuals who have failed to find success with other treatment approaches.
Where to Go from Here
According to the Brown Daily Herald, Rhode Island has some of the highest rates of illicit drug use in the nation. In order to combat the opioid epidemic, both public and private organizations offer resources for people who suffer from prescription drug addiction. The above is not an exhaustive list of the resources available throughout the state, and there are dozens of additional programs in place to help the families of people who suffer from addiction.
Prescription drug addiction treatment always begins with medical detox, but what follows is up to the client. Possible treatment approaches include:
- Long-term residential treatment
- Short-term residential treatment
- Outpatient treatment
- Individualized therapy
- Group counseling
- 12-Step programs
If you are interested in a particular treatment approach and want to learn more about your options in Rhode Island, visit the Substance Use and Mental Health Leadership Council of RI. The Treatment Locator tool on their website will help you find various treatment programs that meet all of your family’s needs. Watching a loved one struggle with addiction to prescription drugs is often emotionally devastating, but it is important to stay hopeful and remember that it is never too late to enroll in a treatment program.