RI students bring fight against opioid addiction to Washington

WASHINGTON, D.C. (WPRI) — When people talk about addiction, a college campus may not be the first thing that comes to mind. That’s why students from all over the country have gathered in our nation’s capital in an effort to bring awareness to a growing epidemic.

Just days after Rhode Island Gov. Gina Raimondo signed an executive order on overdose prevention, Brown University students A.J. and Natalie traveled to Washington, D.C. to take part in a national convention about addiction on college campuses.

“It’s scary what is happening in this country,” A.J. said. “This is a disease that can be fatal.”

And more and more people are affected each day. Jonathan Goyer, an addict in recovery and an advocate for the Anchor Recovery program in Pawtucket, believes the solution is a change of perspective in how we see the problem.

“We need to look to all government agencies, all state, and federal agencies, and ask what can we all do to get people into recovery into treatment,” he said.

Resources like the Comprehensive Addiction Recovery Act, introduced last year by U.S. Sen. Sheldon Whitehouse, are aimed at just that, seeking to provide funding for treatment and education.

“I think it has been important in sending a very strong signal that someone who has an addiction is a person who has an illness,” Whitehouse said.

Whitehouse also noted that college students often feel invulnerable, which makes it important to offer support as soon as they realize they need help.