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This documentary covers the opioid epidemic in Rhode Island specifically, but the messages within it are important for all communities. While there are some personal stories from people who use drugs, the main focus is on listening to the opinions of frontline workers who see the societal impacts of addiction on a day to day basis. It discusses the realities of the opioid crisis and what is truly needed to help people in their journey towards recovery. Rhode Island has made some important changes over the years and its uplifting to hear about how they have led to a reduction in drug use related harms.

Published in 2018

Viewing Time: 53 minutes


“Fentanyl – a highly potent opioid, which experts say is 100x stronger than morphine and 50x stronger than heroin, and drug dealers are mixing it with everything from pills to heroin, and even pot.”

“From February 2016 to March 2018, there has been more than 900 emergency department visits for overdose in Providence alone. During that time, there were 3450 visits in Rhode Island for overdoses. To put that in perspective, that’s an average of 129 visits a month or 4.2 every day.”

“Nobody wants to see people coming in with repeat overdose, but you can’t let that frustration be present in your work. It’s a matter of offering what we know is the right thing based on the best available evidence and research that we have, and repeatedly offering it to them in hopes that every time it’s building a bridge, and one day somebody will walk over it.”

“I didn’t want to be in denial. As much as you don’t want to face it as a parent, you have to.”

“Within 30 days, he was completely hooked on prescription pills and not long after that he made the switch to heroin.”

Screenshot from The Fix: Examining Rhode Island Opioid Epidemic; the opioid crisis, addiction, and recovery

“Today I am a father, a son, and I am a boyfriend – just things that I have never dreamed of being in the past three years, I am.”



“Another protocol of the Perry-Goldner Act is providing a peer recovery specialist in every emergency department across the state [of Rhode Island].”

“The Prescription Drug Monitoring Program is a means by which I can access recent prescriptions, generally for the past year, for patients I might consider prescribing opioids to. I can see if they have gotten other controlled substances … that might help me decide whether or not it is safe and appropriate to give someone an opioid prescription.”

“Our ultimate goal is to keep people alive long enough that they can get to the point where they are ready for sustained recovery. Recovery is a process that is often prolonged and often involves relapse, but people do recover from opioid dependence and do come out on the other side of that and do achieve sustained recovery. We want to give people the opportunity to achieve sustained recovery and we do that by trying to keep them alive in the meantime.”

“When an inmate walks out the door, their treatment does not end. Discharge planners at Codac [the oldest and largest non-profit, outpatient provider of treatment for Opioid Use Disorder in Rhode Island] coordinate schedules and counselling so recovery continues without interruption. This helps with transportation to and from 7 locations so patients can receive treatment, and they also help with housing and even jobs.”

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Continue Learning

Hey there! I hope you found this resource useful! If you’re interested in learning more about the topics discussed, you can browse through these additional resources. Please don’t hesitate to contact me if you need anything.

Opioid Crisis

Opioid Substitution Treatment

Prescription Addiction

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December 2, 2023

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