Rhode Island health department post on drug use causes controversy

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – Dozens of social media users spoke out against a Rhode Island Department of Health post deemed controversial, listing tips to help avoid an overdose with Fentanyl, on Tuesday.

The post, put up last week, lists four tips, like “avoid using alone and take turns” and “start with a small dose and go slowly.”

“[The post gives] them directions on how to use drugs and do it safely. Instead of stopping the problem we have,” Angela Meritt, who responded to the DOH post on Facebook, said to ABC6 News.

But, interim health director for the state, Dr. Jim McDonald, said you can’t stop the problem and help someone get off drugs, if they’re dead.

“What you have to do is try to keep [them] alive, so you can get them into treatment,” Dr. McDonald said. “The main message there is you want to keep them alive long enough, so when they’re ready for treatment, we can bring them into treatment.”

The DOH post comes several weeks before a new law takes effect in Rhode Island that would allow for so-called harm reduction centers for supervised drug use, in front of medical professionals, in case of overdose.

Categories: News, Regional News, Rhode Island