RI FD celebrates helping 100th person in fight of drug addiction through 'Safe Stations' program
Fire Capt. Zachariah Kenyon modeled the program after those at fire departments in Manchester and Nashua, New Hampshire, and said he hopes to see the program spread throughout the state and region
The Providence Journal, R.I.
PROVIDENCE R.I. — City officials on Monday announced that 100 people have utilized Providence's Safe Stations - a program that uses existing fire stations to help connect people struggling with drug addiction to treatment and recovery resources.
"Through this program, any person at any moment can go to any one of Providence's 12 fire stations to get treatment and support services they need," Providence Mayor Jorge Elorza said during a press conference at the Messer Street Fire Station.
We're proud to have served our first 100 participants with the PVD Safe Stations program! As a community, we know how important it is to get care from someone who understands what you're going through. By offering 24/7 connections to peer recovery services, we're fighting the opioid crisis together, one person at a time. More information here: bit.ly/PVDSafeStationsPosted by Jorge Elorza on Monday, June 17, 2019
The station will be closed for construction for about 30 days beginning Monday night, and Safe Stations will not be available for the duration of the construction.
The program, launched by Providence Fire Capt. Zachariah Kenyon in January 2018, uses the infrastructure and first-responder expertise already available at fire stations to welcome people struggling with substance abuse and put them in contact with recovery counselors from Anchor Recovery Community Center within 15 minutes.
Kenyon modeled the program after those at fire departments in Manchester and Nashua, New Hampshire, and said he hopes to see the program spread throughout the state and region.
"It's not something that we want to hide or keep to ourselves," he said.
Newport is in the final stages of launching its own Safe Stations program, Elorza said.
"The truth is that there is no silver bullet to the crisis, but working together we have and will continue to make a difference in our community and save lives throughout the process," he said.
So far in 2019, there have been at least 97 drug overdose deaths in the state, according to the Rhode Island Department of Health. In 2018, there were 314 deaths.
For Adrienne Wood, who walked into a Providence Safe Station on Feb. 19, 2018, to seek help with her opioid addiction, the program made all the difference in her recovery.
"It's been a journey," she said at Monday's press conference. "... From the minute I walked in the fire station and was greeted with a hug, to the relentless calls from my recovery coach, everything has helped save my life."
On Twitter: @madeleine_list
©2019 The Providence Journal (Providence, R.I.)