At this point, like so many of you, I am well acquainted with the facts surrounding the opioid crisis in New England as a whole, and in Rhode Island especially. These numbers are staggering, especially when put into human terms. According to the RI Department of Heath, more than 1000 Rhode Islanders have died from drug overdoses since 2011, and the number of overdoses in that time that are related to a combination of prescription and illegal drugs has risen significantly.

As the numbers show, many of these overdoses are the result of addictions and dependencies that started with legally prescribed prescription pain killers. An unintended consequence of these treatments is that they can so easily lead to addiction to opioids—heroin and fentanyl top among them.

One of my proudest accomplishments working in the Governor’s Office was working on the Overdose Prevention Plan. We gathered information from all sides of the issue to find solutions to this grave crisis.

To achieve a lasting solution, first we have to make a start. I am in support of the use of Narcan (naloxone) to treat acute overdoses, but the solutions must go deeper to the cause. We must expand treatment options, the public information campaigns, stricter prescription monitoring, and recruit recovery coaches.

I have met hundreds of the people of this district as I have been knocking on doors and you have welcomed me into your homes to have conversations. It has confirmed my belief that we are compassionate to our neighbors in need. One of the main reasons I’m asking for your vote in the primary on July 18th is so that I can make sure this district has a tireless advocate for stopping the rising tide of this opioid crisis.

David Allard, Candidate for RI State Senate

Ryan Belmore is the Owner and Publisher of What's Up Newp. He was born and raised in Rhode Island and graduated from Coventry High School. He serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and serves on the Board of Directors for Potter League for Animals. Ryan also is currently the Senior Editor - North America for Mountain News, publisher of OnTheSnow. Ryan is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).