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NEWPORT (Friday, October 26, 2018) — On Thursday night, CODAC Behavioral Healthcare recognized several individuals during an award ceremony at Salve Regina University that also celebrated the organization’s 40th anniversary in Newport County. Members of the health community and several Rhode Island dignitaries, including Congressman David Cicilline, Lt. Gov. Daniel McKee, and former state Sen. Tom Coderre, convened at the historic Young Building to honor CODAC’s work in the community and discuss the early challenges the organization faced.
“Everyone who was invited here tonight is part of a small group of people that have supported the work CODAC has been doing here in Newport County for 40 years, and assisted us in bringing medication assisted treatment to Newport residents for almost 30 years. None of the services that we have been providing to our residents could have happened without the support of every single person in this room,” said Linda Hurley, President/CEO of CODAC.
Hurley delivered introductory remarks and presented awards to individuals who have played a significant role in CODAC’s history or demonstrated their support on various fronts related to addiction treatment services.
“The truth is the work that CODAC does is extraordinary, and I’m very proud to be a part of the delegation in Washington that is fighting hard not only for solutions, but for resources to make sure that we address this deadly epidemic in our state and in our country,” Cicilline told a packed room.
Cicilline, who has been an outspoken advocate for the recovery community, was presented with a Champion Award by Hurley. He recently joined other Rhode Island congressional leaders to help push a landmark bill, signed into law Wednesday, which has major provisions specifically designed to reduce the number of overdoses around the country. Gov. Gina Raimondo, who could not attend the event, sent her acknowledgment to the congressman for his recent work on behalf of this issue.
McKee and Coderre also delivered stirring speeches about CODAC, their work to address the current opioid crisis, and the next steps to ensure overdoses continue to decline in the state. “We understand the fact that building strong communities is the formula for a strong state. The work that CODAC does, not only in the Newport area, but in Providence, and all throughout Rhode Island, is critical in terms of having a healthy community,” McKee said. He has worked with municipalities across the state to bring a national lawsuit against pharmaceutical companies that misled the public about the addictive side effects of prescription drugs.
“Some of the biggest negative public attitudes are pointed towards medication assisted treatment and that is wrong, and it needs to change in our state,” Coderre said on behalf of Gov. Raimondo. Coderre, who currently serves as a senior advisor to Gov. Raimondo, also added that CODAC has the staff and expertise to be an important partner in addressing the opioid crisis.
Other speakers focused on the history and challenges CODAC faced in establishing a clinic in Newport, and two individuals were honored with helping the organization be where it is today. Those individuals included J. Clement ‘Bud’ Cicilline, former President/CEO of Newport County Mental Health and Jack Egan of the Egan Group, who were both recognized with a Founder Award. Sister Jane Gerety, President of Salve Regina University, was also honored at the event with a Community Partnership Award.
“The purpose of this event is to express our gratitude to the individuals and greater community for supporting us for the last 40 years,” Hurley said. “We are grateful for the outpouring of support from these individuals and many others who have aided us in our mission.”
Other distinguished attendees included former R.I. Senate President Teresa Paiva Weed, Rebecca Boss, Director of the R.I. Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Newport Mayor Henry Winthrop, and Capt. Matthew C. Moynihan of the Rhode Island State Police.