As Overdoses Soar, Rhode Island Embraces Drug Consumption Sites
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Rhode Island became the 22nd state in the country to allow consumers to use drug consumption sites, or D.C., to help them deal with their addiction.
The state had been the only one in the country to not offer those services.
Rhode Island has seen several overdose deaths in March, according to the state Department of Health, with four of those deaths being caused by an overdose of heroin.
Rhode Island has the nation’s highest rate of heroin overdose deaths, according to researchers at Virginia Commonwealth University who studied the data.
With more people using heroin and fentanyl than ever before, an increased demand for D.C. means the state is filling up.
The law, signed by Gov. Gina Raimondo, allows for the use of the sites for individuals up to 90 days of withdrawal symptoms, which is defined as needing to take 60 milligrams of a prescribed medication in 24 hours.
Raimondo has called the law an “important step” in addressing the opioid crisis.
“When we see the opioid epidemic in Rhode Island, it’s not like we’ve seen it before. We haven’t seen it like that before,” Raimondo said at a news conference Thursday. “This is an important step in addressing the opioid crisis and taking away the risk that this opioid crisis poses to our citizens, and to taxpayers.”
Rhode Island’s D.C. sites will be funded through private and government donations, with some of the money being put toward the sites, according to Governor Raimondo’s spokesman.
“We’ll be providing funding for those sites, and we’re hoping that in those hours that they’re open, we’ll be able to make some kind of impact with overdose deaths,” said spokesman Peter Barnes.
The law allows the locations to be used for up to 90