St. Mary’s has achieved the designation of Recovery Friendly Workplace through a Governor’s Initiative designed to empower workplaces to support people recovering from substance use disorder.

“This is our commitment and pledge to be part of the solution,” said Nursing Director Nicole Froment. “It involves having policies and trainings in substance use disorder. We want to lessen the stigma of this disorder and support the individuals struggling with it. We are looking at this as a medical problem. They need just as much help as someone with cancer.”

Among the benefits of the designation is access to free NARCAN® which is a potentially lifesaving medication designed to help reverse the effects of an opioid overdose in minutes. St. Mary’s will have four NARCAN Kits, which include instructions and a face shield in case emergency breathing is necessary, on its North Providence campus.

In addition, St. Mary’s is now more connected to the network of services provided for substance use disorder, allowing the agency to better assist both clients and staff.

“Substance use disorder is so stigmatized that many don’t know where to turn for help,” said Froment, who added that it only takes six-to-seven doses of an opioid for the body to become dependent on it and some people continue to take the drugs to avoid withdrawal rather than to get high. “Because the opioid crisis is so prevalent, it can happen to anyone at any time. The road to addiction is different for everyone.