New RI Hospital center is dedicated to treating opioid addiction

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — As the scourge of opioid addiction continues to converge on Americans, Southern New Englanders now have a new option where they can seek help to fight the urge to get high.

The Lifespan Recovery Center at Rhode Island Hospital was ceremonially opened Monday morning. 250 patients were already being cared for by Lifespan physicians, but as of the center’s official opening of last Friday, June 16, they now fall under the auspices of the center, which can accommodate up to 650 patients in all.

Drug overdose deaths hit a spike this past spring in Rhode Island; many were from heroin and fentanyl.

Lifespan cited statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention that said the majority of drug overdose deaths — more than six out of 10 — involve an opioid, and 91 Americans die from an opioid overdose every day.

Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, Sen. Jack Reed, Rep. Jim Langevin, and Gov. Gina Raimondo joined in the celebration of the center’s opening. Whitehouse, for his part, authored the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act, designed to combat addiction. In Rhode Island, Gov. Raimondo signed bills into law last year bolstering treatment and ordering limits to pain meds.

“One of my goals as governor is to reduce opioid overdose deaths by one-third within three years. This new center will be a valuable tool in our fight against the most urgent crisis facing our state,” Raimondo said. “We’ve lost too many lives to overdose. These are our sons, daughters, mothers, fathers, brothers and sisters. We must keep fighting.”

If you’re using illicit drugs, or you know someone who is, the Rhode Island Health Department urges you to call the state’s program, Prevent Overdose RI, at (401) 942-STOP (7867), or to go to the program’s website for resources and help.

The Recovery Center is located at 200 Corliss Street in Providence.