Woonsocket Fire Stations Respond to Opioid Crisis
Woonsocket is the third community in Rhode Island to launch a Safe Stations program to help people struggling with opioid and other substance misuse issues attain access to treatment.
Beginning on November 7, 2019 each of the four Fire Stations in the City will be ready to provide assessment and immediate access to the appropriate treatment level needed for individuals requesting assistance.
“It is inherent in the Fire Service vocation that firefighters are always willing to help. When someone is seeking assistance to begin their road to recovery we will be there. Many times, a person knows they need treatment but does not know where to turn for help. Twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week: all an individual needs to do is come to any one of the four City Fire Stations where we will be able to immediately access the appropriate resources needed and guide them in a safe non-chaotic environment,” said Paul Shatraw Woonsocket Fire Chief.
“Safe Stations create another point of entry for people seeking help who might not feel comfortable walking into a treatment facility. Seeing the friendly face of a firefighter makes asking for help a lot less daunting,” said Michelle Taylor, Director of Outpatient, HIV Services & Opioid Center of Excellence.
Several community partners have been involved in planning and coordination of services, including the Blackstone Valley Prevention Coalition, the state Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals, the RI Department of Health, and Discovery House. The Woonsocket Fire Department (WFD) will partner with Community Care Alliance on the treatment and recovery portion of this project.
“This proactive approach to a nationwide epidemic plaguing so many people is a credit to our fire department and their community partners,” said Eugene Jalette, City of Woonsocket Director of Public Safety.
Woonsocket Safe Stations model a program from Nashua, NH, which has supporting data showing that people who reported to Nashua Safe Stations were 61% less likely to overdose and 74% less likely to have a fatal overdose. In Rhode Island, Safe Stations are also open in Providence and Newport.
The Fire Station locations are:
Fire Station 1 169 Providence Street
Fire Station 2 5 Cumberland Hill Road
Fire Station 3 241 North Main Street
Fire Station 4 804 Mendon Road