Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
News : Recent Press Releases     Op-Ed     Publications     About the Legislative Press Bureau Printer Friendly View
5/29/2024 Assembly OKs bill seeking update of state’s laws concerning substance use disorders
STATE HOUSE –  The General Assembly has approved legislation sponsored by Senate Health and Human Services Committee Chairman Joshua Miller and Rep. Jennifer Boylan to set in motion an update of state laws concerning people with substance use disorders and emergency commitment.

The legislation (2024-S 2087, 2024-H 7736), which now goes to the governor’s desk, would require the Department of Behavioral Healthcare, Developmental Disabilities and Hospitals (BHDDH) to coordinate with the Department of Health to propose revisions to sections of the general laws relating to alcoholism and emergency commitment for drug intoxication, including updates and revisions of statutory language and evidence-based best practices.

“Some parts of our laws concerning substance use treatment are 40 or 50 years old. Besides containing language and terms that are now offensive and insensitive, they also need to be modernized to reflect today’s practices. Our laws should not perpetuate stigmas, and should be supportive of efforts to effectively treat people affected by substance use disorders,” said Chairman Miller (D-Dist. 28, Cranston, Providence).

Said Representative Boylan (D-Dist. 66, Barrington, East Providence), “Effective treatment and services for people with substance use disorders starts with effective policies. We recognize better today than when these laws were written that substance use disorders are a health issue, not a criminal matter. Getting leaders together to craft laws that approach it from that angle will direct our resources toward getting people the help they need, when they need it.”

The bill requires BHDDH to report its proposed changes to the General Assembly by Jan. 1, 2025, enabling legislators to consider enacting them during the next legislative session.

For more information, contact:
Meredyth R. Whitty, Publicist
State House Room 20
Providence, RI 02903
(401) 222-1923