- Associated Press - Sunday, July 19, 2015

PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) - Addiction recovery advocate Jim Gillen, who helped found Rhode Island’s first recovery center and pushed for better services to fight substance abuse, has died.

He was 61.

Dale Klatzer, president of The Providence Center where Gillen had been director of recovery services since 2008, said Gillen died Saturday after battling cancer. The Providence Center has three walk-in facilities founded through Gillen’s initiative that provide counseling, treatment information and support groups.

Klatzer said Gillen was “the face, the voice, and the conscience of the recovery community in Rhode Island.”

Gillen often spoke of his own recovery from addiction and homelessness. In recent years he had urged more public services to counter the opioid abuse and overdose epidemic.

Calling hours and funeral services for Gillen are scheduled Tuesday in West Warwick.

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