Governors discuss opioid epidemic on day one of NGA

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WPRI) – Day one of the National Governors’ Association summer conference was focused around attracting investors, and innovators.

“I’m launching an effort to do an innovation campus at University of Rhode Island,” said Gov. Gina Raimondo.

During a forum focused around the opioid epidemic, governors discussed innovative ways to put their states on the map, both nationally and internationally.

“This is the worst drug epidemic in American history,” noted National Drug Control Policy Acting Director Richard Baum.

Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker joined Raimondo on the panel and shared their efforts to curb the crisis in New England.

“In Massachusetts now, you can’t graduate form nursing school, dental school, medical school or pharmacy school unless you take and pass a course in opioid therapy and pain management,” said Gov. Baker.

“We have a prevention campaign, which we’re about to kick off,” said Gov. Raimondo. “We have done medical assisted treatment, using our Medicaid money for that, particularly in our prison system; a little bit controversial, very effective.”

The over thirty other governors listened eagerly to the panel, hoping to find a lasting solution to the opioid crisis. Forty-six governors signed a pact last July, vowing to fight the same battle.

“We have to make sure that we fight this problem on every level, from law enforcement, to treatment, to prevention, to education, and I’ve had enough of it, and I know you have too,” said Gov. Raimondo.