On Friday, February 14, the Rhode Island State Police announced its plans to carry naloxone in every cruiser, providing officers with a fast-acting tool that quickly reverses the effects of an opiate overdose. This is a drug that has a demonstrated ability to save lives, and today Brett Smiley called on the Providence Police to follow the example of the State Police and equip all officers with this tool.

Brett commented, “This is a matter of common sense. Police officers, by the nature of their work, may confront life-or-death situations with victims of drug overdose, and they should be armed with the right tools to provide the necessary assistance. Overdose is a serious problem, and we need to address it with the same attention and urgency with which we address violent crimes and other deadly situations.”

He went on to say, “This is a solution that goes hand-in-hand with putting more officers on our streets, making sure that officers are able to respond to situations in a timely and effective manner. I applaud the State Police for making naloxone available to all officers, and I urge the Providence Police to follow their lead.”

Smiley also added, “I will be releasing a comprehensive drug policy in the coming months, but current crisis demands action now and this is an important step that can be taken immediately.”

Brett Smiley released a public safety plan for Providence in December that included having more officers walking the beat and helping first-time, nonviolent drug offenders with treatment rather than incarceration. The full plan can be read here: smileyformayor.com/safe

Brett Smiley is running in the September 2014 Democratic primary for Mayor of Providence.