A coalition of private and public organizations to prevent overdose deaths joined forces on Friday to form a public education initiative to distribute free fentanyl test strips
PROVIDENCE, RI – A Coalition of Private and State Organizations Prevention overdose deaths brought together on Friday in a public education initiative involving the distribution of free fentanyl test strips
The strips are one of the most promising new weapons in the fight against the deadly opioid epidemic of the state and the nation.
As part of the fourth annual International Overdose Day, Burnside Park brought together attorneys and healthcare professionals who distributed literature, answered questions, and gave guidance. Doses of naloxone, a drug that makes an overdose reversible, were also distributed to those who wanted it.
"People are going away with the tools they need to protect themselves from overdoses, especially fatal overdoses." Michelle McKenzie, director of Miriam Hospitals Overdose Prevention and Naloxone Intervention Program, reported The Providence Journal
Fentanyl is a deadly substance that is often found mixed with heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine. Users of these drugs do not usually know if they have been spiked with fentanyl, but the test strips provide the answer quickly.
"The opioid epidemic continues to change, prompting us to use creative and dynamic solutions to combat this crisis, to help Rhode Islanders recognize fentanyl in drug delivery before use, and to save lives," Dr. Josiah Rich, co-founder of Miriam's Overdose Prevention and Naloxone Intervention Program.
The event took place at Burnside Park near Brandon's Beach, the playground in memory of Brandon Goldner, who died of an accidental overdose of heroin three years ago. Brandon was the son of Barbara and Brian Goldner, Chairman and CEO of Hasbro.
Earlier this year, Brown University researchers, along with scientists from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health, recommended that health authorities and other "service" organizations offer it.
Traci C. Green, senior researcher at Rhode Island Hospital and more extraordinary Professor of Emergency Medicine and Epidemiology at Warren Alpert Medical School of Brown University, said at the time that it concerned the distribution of condoms, needle exchange and other acts of public health, test strips could be "something [agencies and others] to the collection of tools that they already provide for their populations. "
Others involved Friday were Anchor Recovery Center and Mobile Outreach; the State Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disorders and Hospitals; CODAC Behavioral Health; Community Care Alliance; ENCORE / AIDS care ocean state; Hope Recreation Center of Newport; House of Hope; Parent support network; Protect families first; Providence Healthy Communities office; Resource training support-together; Rhode Island communities for addiction recovery efforts; the State Ministry of Health; Rhode Island User Union; Weaver / renewal; and Woonsocket Prevention Council