CODAC honors Cicilline, supporters during 40th anniversary gala

CODAC BEHAVIORAL HEALTHCARE celebrated its 40th anniversary with a gala at Salve Regina University on Oct. 25. From left, Theresa Paiva Weed, president of the Hospital Association of Rhode Island; Linda Hurley, president and CEO of CODAC Behavioral Healthcare; and Rep. David Cicilline at the event. / COURTESY CODAC BEHAVIORAL HEALTHCARE

NEWPORT – CODAC Behavioral Healthcare celebrated its 40th anniversary in Newport County at Salve Regina University on Oct. 25, honoring Rep. David N. Cicilline, D-R.I., and several other supporters.

Founded in 1971, CODAC Behavioral Healthcare is Rhode Island’s oldest and largest nonprofit outpatient provider of treatment for opioid use disorder. The organization operates at seven community-based locations and has programming at the R.I. Department of Corrections.

“The truth is the work that CODAC does is extraordinary, and I’m very proud to be a part of the delegation in Washington that is fighting hard not only for solutions but for resources to make sure that we address this deadly epidemic in our state and in our country,” Cicilline told a packed room.

An outspoken advocate for the recovery community, Cicilline was presented with a Champion Award by CODAC President and CEO Linda Hurley. He recently joined other Rhode Island congressional leaders to help push a landmark bill, signed into law Oct. 24, which has major provisions specifically designed to reduce the number of overdoses around the country. Gov. Gina M. Raimondo, who could not attend the event, sent her acknowledgment to the congressman for his recent work on behalf of this issue.

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The organization also recognized the contributions of J. Clement “Bud” Cicilline, former president and CEO of Newport County Mental Health and uncle of David Cicilline; Jane Gerety, president of Salve Regina University; and Jack Egan, an adviser of the Egan Group.

“Everyone who was invited here tonight is part of a small group of people that have supported the work CODAC has been doing here in Newport County for 40 years and assisted us in bringing medication-assisted treatment to Newport residents for almost 30 years. None of the services that we have been providing to our residents could have happened without the support of every single person in this room,” Hurley said.

Other distinguished attendees included Lt. Gov. Daniel McKee; former state senator Tom Coderre; Rebecca Boss, director of the R.I. Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals; and Newport Mayor Henry F. Winthrop.

McKee, who has worked with municipalities across the state to bring a national lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies that misled the public about the addictive side effects of prescription drugs, praised CODAC’s contributions to the state.

“We understand the fact that building strong communities is the formula for a strong state. The work that CODAC does, not only in the Newport area but in Providence and all throughout Rhode Island, is critical in terms of having a healthy community,” McKee said.

Coderre, a senior adviser to Raimondo, said CODAC has the staff and expertise to be an important partner in addressing the opioid crisis, which is hampered by unnecessary stigma.

“Some of the biggest negative public attitudes are pointed toward medication-assisted treatment and that is wrong, and it needs to change in our state,” Coderre said.

“The purpose of this event is to express our gratitude to the individuals and greater community for supporting us for the last 40 years,” Hurley said. “We are grateful for the outpouring of support that has directly confronted the stigma associated with addiction, mental health and other health maladies, and it is more important than ever that we continue to work together to help the recovery community.”

Rob Borkowski is a PBN staff writer. Email him at Borkowski@PBN.com.

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