Rhode Island launches new program to address overdose crisis in underserved populations

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (WLNE) – The State of Rhode Island on Wednesday launched a new initiative to address the overdose epidemic in communities of color and other historically underserved groups disproportionately impacted by the overdose crisis.

The new initiative, called the Imani Breakthrough Recovery Project, is an intervention strategy that provides community organizations, including houses of worship, resources to assist at-risk individuals.

“We are excited to be bringing the Imani Breakthrough Recovery Project to underserved communities in Rhode Island,” said Executive Office of Health and Human Services Secretary Womazetta Jones. “During the pandemic, communities of color were significantly impacted, and people need to know that help is available, and it is available in a familiar and safe setting. This program provides a new avenue to reach people who need services that will help them turn their lives around.”

According to the Department of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH), overdose deaths have been on the rise in Rhode Island. Particularly, deaths involving fentanyl have more than tripled since 2014.

The BHDDH says the program will be funded by $877,568 in federal dollars provided by the Mental Health Block Grant COVID-19 supplemental funds, as well as Substance Abuse Prevention and Treatment Block Grant American Rescue Plan Supplemental Funds.

The Imani Breakthrough Recovery Project began three years ago in Connecticut. “Imani” means “faith” in Swahili.

Categories: News, Rhode Island