PROVIDENCE, R.I. [Brown University] — With hundreds of Rhode Islanders dying of opioid overdoses in recent years, Gov. Gina Raimondo established a new task force Tuesday, Aug. 4, 2015, charged with delivering a concrete action plan by November. It will be closely advised by three experts on the Brown University faculty.
“I feel very fortunate that we have a governor who is interested in an evidence-based approach to addressing a serious public health problem,” said Dr. Jody Rich, professor of medicine and epidemiology and a physician at The Miriam Hospital, “and not just addressing overdoses. In a sense, overdose is a symptom of the larger problem of opioid dependence.”
In addition to Rich, Traci Green, associate professor (research) of emergency medicine and epidemiology and a Lifespan researcher, and Brandon Marshall, assistant professor of epidemiology, are advising the new Governor’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force.
“The governor is asking for expert input on how to best address this addiction and overdose problem,” Rich said. “We need to get the word out that addiction is a disease and recovery is not only possible but it’s probable with appropriate treatment. That treatment is available but we need to expand the availability of it.”