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 Wednesday, November 7, 2018, Rhode Island PBS and the Community Care Alliance host “Opioids in Our Community: A Family Meeting” from 5pm-8pm. The first of two similar events planned across the state to open channels of discussion about opioid use will be held at St. Ann Arts and Cultural Center, 84 Cumberland St, Woonsocket, RI. The family events will include a special screening of the Rhode Island PBS documentary, The Fix: Examining Rhode Island’s Opioid Epidemic. The events will also include an information fair by community support organizations and, after the film screening, opportunity to talk with local prevention and treatment professionals.
Participating organizations in this first event include Blackstone Valley Prevention Coalition; Blue Cross & Blue Shield of Rhode Island; Community Care Alliance; Landmark Medical Center; RI Dept. of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals; Rhode Island Student Assistance Services, Thundermist Health Center; and Woonsocket Health Equity Zone.
Documentary Illustrates Complex Issues in Powerful Way
According to the Rhode Island Department of Health, drug overdose is now the leading cause of accidental death 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. 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 event is rated PG-13 and parental discretion is advised.
Light refreshments will be served and child care is available. The event is free but reservations are required by Friday, November 2. For more information, visit www.ripbs.org.
Next Steps: Additional Community Event and Educational Outreach
A second Opioids in Our Community family meeting is planned for southern Rhode Island in spring 2019. The Opioids in Our Community: A FamilyMeeting in Woonsocket coincides with 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, and provide teachers and guidance counselors with high-quality, standards-aligned content to address this challenging topic with students across the state. These resources are distributed at no cost to teachers, students, and parents through Rhode Island PBS LearningMedia, an online instructional content library at ri.pbslearningmedia.org.
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.