Harm Reduction Centers
On July 7, 2021, legislation was signed authorizing a two-year pilot program to prevent drug overdoses through the establishment of harm reduction centers (HRC), which are a community-based resource for health screening, disease prevention and recovery assistance where persons may safely consume pre-obtained substances. These regulations will be promulgated, or published, no later than March 1, 2022.
Since July 2021, RIDOH has convened an internal team to begin the development of regulations that will govern the harm reduction pilot centers. The team’s work is guided by an advisory committee chaired by the Director of Health or a designee, and representatives from the Rhode Island Medical Society, the Hospital Association of Rhode Island, and the Rhode Island Chapter of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, as well as the Attorney General, a current or former law enforcement official, a representative from the Rhode Island League of Cities and Towns, and someone who has experience working in the field of overdose prevention. The advisory committee also includes one person who has a substance use condition and one person who has experienced a drug overdose, or a family member of a person who has experienced a fatal drug overdose.
As a part of the regulations development, RIDOH will conduct extensive public engagement and will seek out the expertise of the state’s harm reduction services providers and leading researchers on harm reduction centers. RIDOH will also coordinate efforts with various stakeholders from the Governor’s Overdose Prevention and Intervention Task Force Work Groups.
Visit Prevent Overdose RI’s HRC webpage for more information and related research.