How the Smallest State is Defeating America’s Biggest Addiction Crisis

Originally Published in Politico | Full Story Link Here

August 25, 2018

CRANSTON, R.I. — By the time police caught Paul Roussell with heroin last summer, the 58-year-old lobster fisherman had been addicted to the drug for almost 10 years. He’d gone from sniffing two bags of heroin a day to 10, then as many as 17. He was running drugs for dealers to afford his habit. “I had already planned that I was going to die,” he says.

He went to prison first. That may have saved his life.

Inside Rhode Island’s Adult Correctional Institutions in this Providence suburb, while facing a felony charge of drug possession with intent to deliver, Roussell was offered a chance to break his addiction through a groundbreaking new program. “I was very surprised to find out that I was able to have methadone in prison,” he says.

Every day while locked up, Roussell drank a 55-milligram dose of methadone, the medicine doctors have used for 50 years to help people get off heroin. “It was very comfortable, very helpful,” says Roussell, a sandy-haired man with deep blue eyes and a handlebar moustache. “I started feeling like my recovery was kicking in.”

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