Memorial service remembers 1,200 opioid overdose deaths in RI

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) — A memorial service was held in Providence Thursday to remember more than 1,200 Rhode Islanders who have died from opioid overdoses in the past five years.

The interfaith memorial service allowed people that have been personally affected by the opioid crisis to share their stories. Melissa Paive, whose son is currently in the hospital due to an overdose, said she understood the pain that comes with knowing someone who is dealing with active addiction.

“It’s really difficult to mourn someone who’s still alive,” Paive said.

Others spoke about loved ones already lost to opioid addiction.

“We bring a face to this opioid crisis,” said Carol Wilcox, whose son died from an opioid overdose. “It’s personal. We are all losing people we love.”

Tree lights illuminating behind the speakers represented lives lost to the opioid crisis. The group Faith Infused Recovery Efforts and members of the Saint Matthias’ ministry were in attendance during Thursday’s service.