August 3, 2016

Whitehouse Helps Launch Partnership for Opioid Addiction Treatment

CODAC, The Providence Center join forces to address opioid abuse Recovery community, law enforcement laud Whitehouse legislation to stem public health crisis

Providence, RI – U.S. Senator Sheldon Whitehouse today joined with leaders from Rhode Island’s recovery community and law enforcement for a soft opening of CODAC Behavioral Healthcare’s new facility co-located within The Providence Center on North Main Street in Providence.  CODAC and The Providence Center have joined forces to provide complementary services, including the use of medication-assisted treatment (MAT), for clients diagnosed with co-occurring disorders related to opioid addiction and mental health.

“The partnership between CODAC and The Providence Center will better serve Rhode Islanders walking the long, noble path of recovery,” said Whitehouse.  “We need to ensure people struggling with addiction can get the best possible services, like those offered at CODAC and The Providence Center.  That’s why I authored the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act to help the health care providers, law enforcement, first responders, and family members on the front lines of this public health crisis.”

The Providence Center provides addiction treatment, mental health care, recovery support, housing, and employment services for more than 13,000 Rhode Islanders annually.  CODAC Behavioral Healthcare, Rhode Island’s oldest and largest outpatient opioid treatment provider has—with the opening of the new North Main Street location—six facilities across the state offering treatment, recovery, and prevention services for patients struggling with substance use disorders and other behavioral health issues.  CODAC will begin treating clients at its facility co-located within The Providence Center on Monday, August 8, and is planning a full opening in September.

The new collaboration was established to provide more comprehensive and accessible services for individuals in need of treatment for both mental health and substance use disorders.  The goal is to expand capacity to reach those currently receiving care from CODAC and The Providence Center, and those not yet in treatment.  In addition to comprehensive behavioral health care, CODAC offers two forms of MAT: methadone maintenance and Suboxone, also known as buprenorphine.  As part of a medically-supervised dosage program, MAT treats opioid addiction with synthetic narcotics that block the effects of prescribed and illegal opioids and reduce cravings for the drugs.  MAT also prevents the extreme withdrawal symptoms that occur when opioid use is discontinued.

“Senator Whitehouse, who co-authored the recently-signed CARA bill, is truly a champion in the national fight against opioid addiction,” said Linda Hurley, President and CEO of CODAC Behavioral Healthcare.  “CARA is the result of the Senator’s understanding of the issues, his persistence in educating others, and his commitment to getting it right and seeing it through.   CODAC is honored to have been consulted by the Senator’s team in their efforts to craft this thoughtful, comprehensive and crucial piece of legislation.  Our hope is that Congress will follow through and provide the requisite funding to support the recommendations in this bill—including more collaborations like the one between CODAC and The Providence Center.  Our goal—and CARA’s goal—is to provide seamless and comprehensive care in the treatment of opioid addiction, the prevention of overdose, and the support of long-term recovery.”

The Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act (CARA), authored by Whitehouse along with Rob Portman (R-OH), Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), and Kelly Ayotte (R-NH), will expand access to MAT across the country.  CARA, which was signed into law on July 22, establishes a range of other policies to prevent and treat addiction to opioid drugs, including programs to increase education about drug use, to improve prescription drug monitoring programs, and to promote comprehensive state responses to the opioid crisis.

“Senator Whitehouse has been a leader and advocate for families and individuals living with substance use and mental health disorders for many years,” said Dale K. Klatzker, President of The Providence Center.  “He understands this public health crisis, and the passage of CARA indicates that other policy makers in Washington, D.C. finally do as well.  The Providence Center has an unwavering commitment to innovative community based services that deliver the care individuals need at the time and place they need it.  We are grateful for his persistence and the new community partnerships CARA will inspire.”

Beginning in 2014, as part of the process of drafting their bill, Whitehouse, Portman, Klobuchar and Ayotte brought together experts and practitioners from the prevention, treatment, law enforcement, and recovery communities from across the United States to share best practices in their fields at national forums and as part of a working group.  Rhode Island organizations, including CODAC Behavioral Health, The Providence Center-affiliated Anchor Recovery, and Phoenix House, had a role in informing the legislation.

“This vital piece of legislation will provide funding options for law enforcement agencies around the country to get a better handle on the opiate crisis that has plagued urban cities,” said Providence Police Chief Colonel Hugh T. Clements, Jr.  “The opening of the CODAC treatment center within the Providence Center will allow our officers more resources and treatment options for individuals who are struggling with addiction.  I commend Senator Whitehouse and his team and look forward to our continued partnerships with these agencies.”

In Rhode Island in 2015, 258 people lost their lives to overdoses – more than the number of those killed in homicides, suicides, and car accidents combined.

A full summary of CARA is available here.


Press Contact

Meaghan McCabe, (202) 224-2921