- Associated Press - Tuesday, October 2, 2018

PORTSMOUTH, R.I. (AP) - Rhode Island State Police are launching a new program to help combat the opioid epidemic.

The new HOPE initiative, which stands for Heroin-Opioid Prevention Effort, involves law enforcement working with clinicians to identify people at risk of overdosing and finding them resources to help toward recovery.

Eighty state and local police officers attended the program’s first day of training Monday at Roger Williams University.

The program is being funded through state and federal grants.

State Police superintendent Col. Ann Assumpico says the state’s 1,673 overdoses last year, including 323 fatalities, is “unacceptable.”

Democratic Gov. Gina Raimondo says she is certain the HOPE initiative will save lives, and they will not stop until there are no more overdose deaths in the state.

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