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Opioids in Our Community: A Family Meeting on May 13
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TitleOpioids in Our Community: A Family Meeting
Original PostApril 30, 2019
Updated DateScreening Event: Monday, May 13, 2019

Rhode Island has faced many crises over the years, but few compare to the current opioid epidemic that has thousands of families under siege. Fast and unrelenting in its grip, opioid addiction is a chronic relapsing disease that can develop in as little as one week of repeated exposure to opioids. The effects of addiction on the individuals and their families are devastating in terms of physical, emotional, social, and financial costs, with death being the ultimate, tragic price.

Prevention is the Key and It Starts with a Conversation

On Monday, May 13, 2019, Rhode Island PBS, the West Warwick Health Equity Zone, and Thundermist Health Center host “Opioids in Our Community: A Family Meeting” from 4 to 6:30 p.m. The event is made possible by Blue Cross & Blue Shield and includes a film screening and information fair intended to open channels of discussion about opioid use. Held at the West Warwick Senior and Community Center, 145 Washington St., West Warwick, Rhode Island, the family event will include a special screening of the Rhode Island PBS documentary, The Fix: Examining Rhode Island’s Opioid Epidemic.

Participating organizations in this event are (in alphabetical order) Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island, Care New England and The Providence Center, Kent County YMCA, Kent Prevention Coalition, Preventing Overdose and Naloxone Intervention (PONI), The Providence Center/West Warwick Police Department, Resources Education and Support Together (REST), RI Dept. of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals, Rhode Island PBS, RI Student Assistance Services (RISAS), Thundermist Health Center, West Warwick Health Equity Zone, Westbay Community Action – LIHEAP Team.

Overdose Prevention Student Poster Contest

The event also includes an exhibition of artwork by West Warwick High School students in a contest coordinated by The Providence Center and the West Warwick Police Department. The initiative helps raise awareness among high school students about the risks associated with substance use, as well as the many community resources available for prevention, treatment and recovery, and – perhaps most importantly – to remove the stigma associated with this challenging issue. All 30 students’ submissions will be on display at the screening event. Two entries, one each from the digital and paper categories, will win a cash prize of $200 each. Judging of entries and the awards are courtesy of the West Warwick Overdose Prevention and Recovery Working Group.  

Documentary Illustrates Complex Issues in a Powerful Way

According to the Rhode Island Department of Health, drug overdose is a leading cause of accidental deaths in Rhode Island. There are strong genetic, situational, and societal factors that increase the risk of developing opioid addiction. Youth and adults who are at higher risk for substance use disorders do not knowingly or willingly intend to put themselves at this risk, but it happens. Knowing this, vital conversations that help build crucial skills are needed within families to ensure the risks of opioid use are understood. It is essential to reach adolescents before they start experimenting with opioids.

In The Fix: Examining Rhode Island’s Opioid Epidemic, interviews with individuals in active recovery and their families, counselors, community leaders, emergency responders, doctors, and advocates at prevention organizations, illustrate the toll this epidemic is having on our community, and what is being done to combat this crisis. Due to the sensitive subject matter, this film is rated PG-13 and parental discretion is advised.

Light refreshments will be served and childcare is available. The event is free but reservations are recommended. For more information, visit

Opioids in Our Community School Curriculum

The Opioids in Our Community family meeting in West Warwick follows the launch of an Opioids in Our Community curriculum resource collection for middle and high school instruction, including lesson plans that incorporate video segments from The Fix as well as the 2014 Rhode Island PBS Production, No Hero in Heroin. The instructional resources were developed and written in collaboration with Rhode Island Student Assistance Services (RISAS) to be distributed at no cost to teachers and guidance counselors with high-quality, standards-aligned content to address this challenging topic with students across the state.

Strong Support Network is Essential to Success

The Opioids in Our Community: A FamilyMeeting events and educational outreach project are made possible by the generous support of Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island.

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About Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island

Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island ( is a non-profit, community-focused health plan founded in 1939 to help Rhode Islanders finance their healthcare needs. Today, that’s still a big part of what we’re all about. We are committed to improving the health and peace of mind of our nearly 400,000 members by facilitating their access to affordable, high-quality healthcare. Our goal is to improve the quality of life of our customers and of the people of Rhode Island by improving their health for generations to come. We are an independent licensee of the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. Connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram. Listen to BCBSRI’s podcast, The Rhode to Health, at

About Thundermist Health Center

Thundermist Health Center is a Federally Qualified Community Health Center, serving Woonsocket, West Warwick, and South County for 50 years. The mission of Thundermist is to improve the health of patients and communities by delivering exceptional health care, removing barriers to that care, and advancing healthy lifestyles. For information about the services at Thundermist Health Centers, visit

About Rhode Island PBS

WSBE Rhode Island PBS is operated by the Rhode Island PBS Foundation, a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. WSBE Rhode Island PBS is a viewer-supported member of the PBS network of public broadcasting stations, and uses the power of noncommercial media to educate, engage, enrich, inspire, and entertain viewers of all ages in Rhode Island, southeastern Massachusetts, and eastern Connecticut since 1967. WSBE-TV delivers content on two channels: Rhode Island PBS (digital 36.1), and Learn (digital 36.2). For more information about programs at WSBE, visit