Executive Order 15-14

Establishing the Overdose Task Force

WHEREAS, Rhode Island is in the midst of a public health crisis due to the alarming rate of deaths caused by opioid drug overdose; and

WHEREAS, accidental drug overdoses have claimed the lives of far too many Rhode Islanders; and

WHEREAS, drug overdoses can be prevented, and lives can be saved; and

WHEREAS, we recognize that addiction is a disease, and that addicts come from diverse backgrounds and live in every part of our State, and, furthermore, that recovery from drug and alcohol abuse is possible; and

WHEREAS, the impacts to addicts, families, friends, and communities must drive us to do all we can to help Rhode Islanders lead healthy, successful, productive lives; and

WHEREAS, we must come together to build on the existing work and successful initiatives of the task force on drug overdose, state agencies, and community partners to contain this epidemic, such as the prescription monitoring program and the recovery coach model, now replicated in other states; and

WHEREAS, Rhode Island needs a comprehensive strategy to combat addiction and overdose.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, GINA M. RAIMONDO, by virtue of the authority vested in me as Governor of the State of Rhode Island and Providence Plantations, do hereby order as follows:

  1. There shall be established the Governor’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force (the “Overdose Task Force”) to advise the Governor. The members shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the Governor. Members shall include, but not be limited to, stakeholders (or their designees) with expertise in such areas as:
    1. Public health;
    2. Public safety;
    3. Healthcare delivery;
    4. Healthcare insurance;
    5. Healthcare professionals;
    6. Prevention, treatment, and recovery support services;
    7. Public health licensing;
    8. Public health research;
    9. Health disparities;
    10. Business; and
    11. Other relevant areas.

  2. The Director of Health and the Director of Behavioral Health, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals shall serve as co-chairs of the Overdose Task Force. The co-chairs shall have authority to convene meetings, and create subcommittees as necessary that would include Overdose Task Force members and additional community representatives. The Overdose Task Force shall convene monthly public meetings.

  3. The Overdose Task Force shall draft and submit an action plan to the Governor by November 1, 2015, that includes recommendations to address the addiction and overdose crisis in Rhode Island. The plan shall include at least the following:
    1. Clear goals, objectives, and metrics for measuring forward progress to combat the addiction and overdose crisis;

    2. An assessment of available data and current data sharing agreements;

    3. Proposals to expand the utilization of data to inform decisions on the investment of resources;

    4. Recommendations for increasing pathways and access to appropriate treatment;

    5. An approach to increase awareness of the overdose epidemic, reduce the stigma associated with substance use disorders, and improve prevention education;

    6. Strategies to improve the prescription monitoring program and ensure that prescription opioids are available only in appropriate circumstances;

    7. Recommendations to improve coordination and collaboration with other states, federal government, and local partners, including nonprofit agencies, hospitals, healthcare and service providers, and academia; and

    8. A summary of any barriers to treatment and obstacles to success in driving down the rate of addiction and overdose deaths in Rhode Island.

  4. The Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals and Department of Health shall provide staff support for the Overdose Task Force.

  5. The Overdose Task Force shall provide a report to the Governor regarding its progress to reduce drug overdose deaths semi-annually beginning June 30, 2016.

This Executive Order shall take effect immediately.

So Ordered,

Gina M. Raimondo