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City and Prevention Organizations Partner to Combat Drug Overdoses

Mayor Donald R. Grebien, the Pawtucket Police Department, the Pawtucket Prevention Coalition, and the Center for Treatment and Recovery announced plans to partner police officers with social workers to outreach to at-risk and transient populations in the city to offer information, tools, and recovery assistance for opioid abuse.

Beginning April 28th, the Pawtucket Police will have an outreach worker from the Center for Treatment and Recovery with them on patrols on a weekly basis to connect with and provide information to people struggling with addition or at risk of overdosing through July. Outreach workers will provide information on drug overdose prevention, recovery and treatment options, and backpacks with hygiene products, snacks, and materials. The outreach team will also prioritize admission for this population and facilitate referrals.

“The opioid crisis has impacted so many of our families and friends. I am thankful for the ongoing partnership with the Pawtucket Prevention Coalition, the Center for Treatment and Recovery, and other networks focused on preventing and ending addiction in our city,” said Mayor Grebien. “The Police Department has been proactively combatting crime and providing support through the Neighborhood Response Unit, after-school programs, and partnering with community groups. This is yet another way to reach those at risk before it is too late.”

“Our officers are on the front lines and see the effects of drugs and addiction on our community,” said Chief Paul King. “We hope that having outreach workers with our officers will help those that we come into contact with by connecting them with resources and treatment, and informing them of the risk of overdose.” 

"We have witnessed too many opioid overdose deaths in the Blackstone Valley region and prevention is key in both educating our youth and informing the public regarding opiate use disorders and the availability of treatment options," said Diane Dufresne, Director of the Pawtucket Prevention Coalition.   

“Partnering with the Coalition and the Pawtucket Police Department to provide outreach among vulnerable populations may break the cycle of overdose and incarceration by providing direct treatment and education in the community,” said Wendy Looker, co-owner and President of the Center for Treatment and Recovery.

Pawtucket’s Prevention Coalition will also hold three community meetings (May, June July) in partnership with the local neighborhood associations to provide information on opioid addiction and training for the use of Narcan.

Pawtucket Police Officers were trained to carry Narcan and provided free kits earlier this year by RI Disaster Medical Assistance Team to reverse the life-threatening effects of a known or suspected opiate (narcotic) overdose.

The project is being funded by a $4,770 grant from the Rhode Island Department of Health’s Drug Overdose Prevention Program. Pawtucket is one of nine organizations to receive the grant. According to initial report from the Department, between January 2017 and March 2017, there have been thirty-seven accidental drug related overdose deaths, twenty-six of which were fentanyl involved deaths. In 2015, two hundred and ninety people died from accidental overdoses in Rhode Island, an increase of more than fifty percent in the past five years.

Pawtucket’s Prevention Coalition Task Force assesses the city’s prevention needs and addresses them by designing and implementing prevention activities, and seeks to diminish the root causes of substance abuse by developing healthy children, good schools, stable families, safe neighborhoods, and a strong community. The Center for Treatment and Recovery is a Medication Assisted Treatment Center located in Pawtucket that treats patients with addiction to prescription pain-killers, and heroin.



April 28, 2017

Contact: Lauren Greene

401-728-0500 ext. 358       

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