Letter to the Editor - Overdoses in our area and prevention

Updated: Oct 19


Flyer created by Brynn Terry

Dear Editor,


On Aug. 31 of this year, the third day of RIC’s fall semester, the Rhode Island Department of Health (RIDOH) issued a public health advisory for the North Providence and Johnston areas.


This meaning, as we settled into our routines, others’ would be changed forever by the loss of a loved one; merely miles away from, and perhaps within, our campus. According to RIDOH, 435 Rhode Islanders died as the result of overdose in 2020. This number, the highest recorded number of overdose-related deaths in the state, is expected to be surpassed upon the release of 2021 data. Out of the 435 deaths, approximately 75% were the result of fentanyl.


Fentanyl, a drug 80 times as strong as the opioid morphine, is often mixed into other drugs such as marijuana, cocaine, heroin and even hand rolled cigarettes. These drugs are contaminated purposefully in order to make the drug more addictive to the user.


To put things into perspective, the amount of fentanyl needed to cause overdose is the size equivalent of around ten grains of salt. Given the dubious misconception that fentanyl evaporates when smoked and becomes harmless, it is relatively easy to assume the drug you are using is safe when it is truly deadly.


Seeing as this advisory is placed on the same community in which RIC has prospered for generations, we as members of this community must take action. RICovery, Rhode Island College’s peer-to-peer support group and recovery awareness club, would like the RIC community to know that we are doing our best to take that action. However, we can’t do it alone.


To our peers and instructors alike, we urge you to join us. Attend our NARCAN trainings, or reach out for one-on-one trainings anytime, with absolutely no cost for anything. If you or someone you know is planning on using and want to be safe, contact us and we will provide you with testing strips, no questions asked. We foster a safe and supportive place that emphasizes helping and educating individuals in their journey to and through recovery, as well as a place to learn from and support others. RICovery is here, taking action at RIC, waiting for you to join us in the fight against addiction and overdose.


We are here for you, no matter what your relationship to recovery or knowledge of it may be. Together, we must be in order to keep our community safe.


Sincerely,

The RICovery E-Board




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