Governor Gina Raimondo has signed into law new protections for patients battling mental health and substance abuse problems.
Rhode Island already requires health insurance to cover treatment for mental health and substance abuse, but the new law goes even further.
Plans to establish a center where people can go to sober up, instead of the emergency room, have languished for lack of state funding. But a renewed effort to launch the program is underway.
It has often been said that Rhode Island is like one big family. Because Rhode Island is a close-knit community, there are few of us who haven’t seen a family member, neighbor or friend touched by the growing epidemic of prescription drug abuse.
According to the Rhode Island Department of Health, drug overdose is the leading cause of accidental death in the state. In fact, “prescription medications are now the most commonly abused drugs among 12- to 13-year-olds because they are so easy for kids to access, often in the medicine cabinet,” according to Marcia Lee Taylor from the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids.
The partnership's research shows two-thirds of teens who abused pain relievers say they got them from family and friends. Prescription drug abuse affects every community, economic class, race and age group. Simply put, it is not just an inner city problem but a statewide issue. Every year opioids abuse costs Rhode Islanders $108 million in health care costs. In fighting this epidemic, we must look at every available solution.
State Senator Josh Miller (D-Cranston) joins Political Roundtable this week to discuss Governor-elect Gina Raimondo's selection of Elizabeth Roberts to be the state's next secretary of Health and Human Services; the outlook for legalizing marijuana in Rhode Island; Raimondo's reversal in keeping the media out of an economic summit; and more.