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Opioid Awareness

September 23, 2016

 President Barack Obama and Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch designated the week of September 19-23, 2016, as National Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week.

In recognition of National Heroin and Opioid Awareness week, United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha hosted a series of public discussions and town hall meetings to raise awareness about a public health crisis in Rhode Island of heroin and opioid addiction and overdoses. The discussions reinforced the Department of Justice’s three-fold approach to the opioid and heroin epidemic - prevention and awareness; enforcement; and treatment.

Regional town hall meetings and discussions organized in collaboration with Prevention Coalitions from across Rhode Island were held in Providence, South Kingstown, Woonsocket and Middletown. Each program included a screening of the powerful documentary Chasing the Dragon: The Life of an Opioid Addict; the personal stories of our neighbors touched by the epidemic of drug overdoses that is devastating families across Rhode Island; and panel discussions with members of the medical, treatment, education, community-outreach and law enforcement communities.

Opioid Awareness Week kickoff event at Brown University

At the kickoff event for Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week held at Brown University's School of Professional Development in Providence, Paul Kandarian, an Army veteran twice deployed to Afghanistan, shared his story of heroin addiction and recovery as panelists, the media and a packed room of attendees listened intently.

South Kingstown Opioid Awareness Week town hall meeting in South Kingstown

In South Kingstown, the parents of Bianca Hathaway (seated on the left) lost to an overdose in February 2016, shared their heartbreaking story as a warning that this epidemic has no boundaries and causes personal devastation. United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha (standing) followed their presentation with a spirited panel discussion about the increasing rate of opioid prescribing, and the need to continue to focus on treatment and education.

 

Heroin and Opioid Awareness Week town hall meeting in Woonsocket

United States Attorney Peter F. Neronha leads a discussion on opioid addiction, treatment and education at a town hall meeting in Woonsocket. Doctors, treatment specialists, Blackstone Valley Prevention Coalition leaders and educators addressed the burgeoning problem and efforts to raise awareness.

 

Attendees at a town hall meeting in Middletown watch and listen intently during a screening of the powerful documentary Chasing the Dragon produced by the FBI and DEA. The screening was followed by a local family sharing the personal story of a young father lost to addiction, and a panel discussion with members of the medical, treatment, education, community-outreach and law enforcement communities.

Attendees at a town hall meeting in Middletown watch and listen intently during a screening of the powerful documentary Chasing the Dragon produced by the FBI and DEA. The screening was followed by a local family sharing the personal story of a young father lost to addiction, and a panel discussion with members of the medical, treatment, education, community-outreach and law enforcement communities.

 

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Updated October 4, 2016