NEWPORT – The city has announced that it will be the second municipality in the state to designate its fire stations as points of assistance for people struggling with substance use.
The city’s Safe Stations program, expected to launch on June 28, comes after a year of planning, training and collaborating between multiple local agencies.
“Any time, day or night, when someone struggling with substance abuse or misuse determines that they need help, they’ll be welcome here to speak to a firefighter on duty and begin their path to recovery,” Newport Fire Chief Brian Dugan said. “Our stations will truly be a safe space.”
As part of the program, firefighters at Newport’s three stations will do a medical assessment on Safe Station visitors, check vital signs, dispose of any illegal drugs or paraphernalia, and call for a team of certified peer recovery specialists from Hope Recovery Center.
Newport’s implementation of Safe Stations comes about a year and a half after Providence launched the program.
Newport Prevention Coalition’s CODE subcommittee, the Hope Recovery Center, Providence Safe Stations, R.I. Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals, and the R.I. Department of Health worked together on the effort.
James Day, coordinator of Newport Prevention Coalition, which received a grant last year from Gov. Gina M. Raimondo’s Overdose Task Force to take action on preventing opioid-overdose deaths in Newport, said he is excited about the prospect of more community support.
“This has been a truly collaborative effort and one which I hope will provide our neighbors experiencing addiction an accessible path to treatment and long-term recovery,” he said.
An official launch for Safe Stations is planned for June 28 at 4 p.m. at the fire department headquarters at 21 Marlborough St.