Providence offers substance addiction referrals at fire stations

AT THE PODIUM, Mayor Jorge Elorza helps announce the launch of 12 'safe stations' for addiction referral in Providence fire stations. To his left, Providence Public Safety Commissioner Steven Pare. / COURTESY OFFICE OF THE MAYOR OF PROVIDENCE
AT THE PODIUM, Mayor Jorge Elorza helps announce the launch of 12 'safe stations' for addiction referral in Providence fire stations. To his left, Providence Public Safety Commissioner, Steven M. Pare. / COURTESY OFFICE OF THE MAYOR OF PROVIDENCE

PROVIDENCE —  The city of Providence will establish 12 fire stations as 24/7 centers providing referrals for treatment and support for substance based addiction on Jan. 2, 2018 as part of the PVD Safe Stations program.

Services at the stations will be offered to anyone seeking recovery, regardless of their home town, by The Providence Center, a mental health and addiction treatment provider. The program is also benefiting from the cooperation of the R.I. Department of Health  and R.I. Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals.

BHDDH has secured $200,000-$300,000 from federal funding intended for these types of services and the Providence Center is in the process of applying for a grant to cover additional costs ($130,000), said Emily Crowell, director of communications for Mayor Jorge O. Elroza’s office.

“The opioid epidemic is a growing public health crisis that has swept across our nation,” said Elorza. “PVD Safe Stations is an innovative city-wide response, to help those struggling with addiction and substance use disorders. I, along with state and local partners, are committed to tackling this crisis head-on and will continue to provide opportunities to keep people healthy and safe.”

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According to Prevent Overdose RI, about one in four of Rhode Island’s overdose deaths occur in Providence. Last week, the Rhode Island Department of Health issued a public health advisory due to increased drug overdose activity in Providence. From Monday, Nov. 27 to Sunday, Dec. 3, RIDOH received ten reports of suspected drug overdoses.

“We have been very impressed with the action taken by the City of Providence, the Fire Department and The Providence Center in creating this program in response to the opioid crisis,” Rebecca Boss, director of the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities & Hospitals said. “We look forward to the launch of Safe Stations as another point of access for those who suffer from substance use disorders. Breaking down barriers to services is crucial to receiving treatment and starting recovery.”

PVD Safe Stations is a part of Rhode Island’s Overdose Prevention Action Plan, which includes expansion of peer recovery services and access to treatment options for long-term recovery.  PVD Safe Stations’ mission is to reduce opioid overdose-related deaths and provide individuals with critical supports.

The program is modeled after a successful Manchester, N.H., program, Safe Station, which established that city’s fire stations as centers for referral to opioid addiction services.

Providence Fire Station Locations:

Engine 2 | Rescue 3 10 Branch Ave.

Engine 3 | 325 Washington Street

Engine 6 | Rescue 2 489 Hartford Ave.

Engine 7 | Rescue 5 151 North Main Street

Engine 8 | 201 Messer Street

Engine 9 | 223 Brook Street

Engine 10 | Rescue 1 847 Broad Street

Engine 11 | 274 Reservoir Ave.

Engine 12 | Rescue 7 426 Admiral Street

Engine 13 | 776 Allens Ave.

Engine 14 | Rescue 6 630 Atwells Ave.

Engine 15 | 136 Mt. Pleasant Ave.

For more information, visit www.PVDSafeStations.com.

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