Updated: Apr 26
Rhode Island is rolling out a two-year pilot program to see how harm reduction centers improve public health, similar to New York City's supervised drug-injection sites that opened in November of last year. Not only do these facilities provide an environment where people can safely consume pre-obtained substances, but the centers also offer community-based resources for health screening, disease prevention, recovery assistance, counseling centers, employment, and more.
The state's Department of Health has been encouraging organizations to apply for licensing of those interested in establishing harm reduction centers as drug overdoses increased by 25% in 2020, and the highest number of overdose-related deaths ever recorded to date in the state occurred in 2021.
"Harm reduction centers in Rhode Island will be an important part of Rhode Island's approach to the drug overdose crisis. These community-based resources allow people to safely consume pre-obtained controlled substances in a supportive environment without legal repercussions," said Joseph Wendelken, spokesperson for the RI Department of Health.