Governor Gina Raimondo’s overdose prevention task force convenes its first meeting Wednesday. The group has been asked to develop a statewide plan to curb the epidemic of addiction and overdose.
Task force leaders are expected to brief members on the scope of the problem and then get the planning process started. The group includes a mix of experts from state government and academia.
Raimondo has asked them to draft a strategy to address the overdose crisis. There are efforts underway across the state to battle heroin and prescription painkiller addiction and prevent overdose deaths. But this group aims to coordinate efforts, set goals, and measure the outcomes.
Raimondo says she’ll secure funding for the most promising ideas.
More than a hundred Rhode Islanders have died this year from accidental drug overdoses, according to Rhode Island's Department of Health. That's the number of deaths that have been confirmed by the Office of the State Medical Examiner. It may climb higher, pending the reduction of a backlog of cases the office is tackling, since the resignation of the chief medical examiner in early August.
Overdose is Rhode Island's leading cause of accidental death.