Sunday, December 5, 2021        

Smithfield Safe Stations logoAre you or someone you know struggling with addiction? If so, then let Smithfield Safe Stations be your connection to recovery.

Available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, anyone struggling with addiction are welcome to visit any one of Smithfield’s 3 fire stations, speak with the trained staff on duty, and immediately get connected to treatment support and services. Smithfield Safe Stations is free and provides a welcoming environment for when you’re ready for recovery.

The purpose of Smithfield Safe Stations is to address the overdose epidemic in Rhode Island by providing hassle-free and immediate access to supportive services. Individuals living with substance use disorders may not be aware of the resources available to them or have the ability to access them. Smithfield Safe Stations breaks down barriers for individuals, allowing them access to critical supportive services provided by a peer in recovery when and where they need them most.

Smithfield Safe Stations is based on the model from Manchester and Nashua, NH, which experience high rates of opioid overdose deaths. It is in alignment with the State of Rhode Island’s Overdose Prevention Action Plan, which includes expansion of peer recovery services and access to treatment options for long-term recovery.

The Smithfield Fire Department, in collaboration with Gateway Healthcare, announce the implementation of “Smithfield Safe Stations” program beginning on November 1st.  Under this new program, all three of the Town’s fire stations, located at 607 Putnam Pike, 66 Farnum Pike, 15 Log Road, will become a safe place to welcome members of the community seeking assistance with a substance use problem 24 hours a day/seven days a week.  Following a brief screening exam, community members will be immediately connected with a recovery professional who can assist them in beginning their personal road to recovery. 

“The Smithfield Safe Stations Program is going to provide immediate help when someone is ready to start on the road to recovery,” said Randy Rossi, Town Manager.  “Thanks to our partnership with Gateway Healthcare and the Substance Use and Mental Health Leadership Council of Rhode Island, we are able to roll out this important program in our community.”

The rise in accidental fatal overdoses in Rhode Island emphasizes the need for such interventions. After seeing a decrease by 8.3 percent from 2016 to 2019, accidental drug overdose deaths increased by 25 percent in 2020, and from January to April 2021, accidental drug overdose deaths increased by 7% to the same period in 2020 according to the Office of the State Medical Examiners (OSME), Rhode Island Department of Health.

This program, which was first developed in Nashua and Manchester, New Hampshire where the opioid crisis was taking a particularly devastating toll, has been adopted in communities across the country.

“I encourage the general public to make themselves aware of the Smithfield Safe Stations program as it is unpredictable when a friend or relative may be in need of help. Having personally dealt with a family member with an addiction problem, I appreciate the support that is provided by programs like the Safe Stations program,” Said Chief Robert Seltzer, Smithfield Fire Department.  “If you or someone you know needs help, please utilize the Safe Stations program. It is confidential and it works. The program provides support for the person seeking help and their entire family.”

“Today, Smithfield will join many other cities and towns across the country in deploying a program to address addiction and taking action to end the heartbreak, suffering and damage substance abuse causes to individuals, families and the community as a whole. The Safe Stations program is designed to help individuals who ask for help as rapidly as possible and connect them with services” said Suzy Alba, Town Council President.