Governor Chafee said today: "I am greatly concerned and saddened by this epidemic of drug overdose deaths that is happening in Rhode Island and around the country. I send my condolences to all the families and communities of those who have lost loved ones. The recent spike in deaths since the beginning of the year has been especially troubling.
"I see hope and progress coming from our families and communities, working with health and behavioral officials, law enforcement officials and faith leaders throughout the entire state to address both the response to the health issue and also the cause of the problem.
"Specifically, this coalition of health, treatment and law enforcement has:
Brought attention to the issue and increased general public awareness of drug overdose as a preventable public health problem;
Sounded the alarm to users and the public;
Strengthened statewide overdose surveillance mechanisms;
Increased the usage and effectiveness of the Prescription Monitoring Program;
Increased access to naloxone training and distribution programs;
Increased access to substance abuse treatment; and
Convened a statewide group of stakeholders to collaboratively address the epidemic.
"As we move forward as Rhode Islanders, let us mourn the victims, and work with their families to stop these needless, preventable deaths."