News Release

US Department of Labor awards $1.3M in funding to continue employment, training services to combat Rhode Island’s opioid crisis

Support disaster-relief employment, workforce retraining in five Rhode Island counties

WASHINGTON – In 2010, the state of Rhode Island estimated 153 drug overdose deaths, with 36 of them blamed on illicit drugs. A decade later, 384 residents fatally overdosed with 275 attributed to illicit drugs.

To combat the social and economic impacts of the state’s widespread opioid use, addiction and overdose, the U.S. Department of Labor today announced the award of $1,329,657 in incremental funding to the Rhode Island Department of Labor and Training. Funds will support the creation of jobs and workforce training services in Bristol, Kent, Newport, Providence and Washington counties, which have suffered significant impacts.

Supported by the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act of 2014, Opioid Disaster Recovery Dislocated Worker Grants create temporary jobs and provide services to reintegrate workers affected by the crisis and train individuals to work in addiction treatment, mental health treatment and pain management.

In 2017, the Department of Health and Human Services declared the opioid crisis a public health emergency. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates more than 140 Americans die from drug overdoses, 91 specifically due to opioids each day.

Administered by the department’s Employment and Training Administration, the award is the final allocation of a $3.9 million National Health Emergency Dislocated Worker Grant announced in April 2019, with $1,329,657 released initially and a second award of $1,329,657 announced in September 2020. State officials estimate the award will support the creation of jobs and provide workforce training for approximately 670 people.  

Learn more about drug overdose deaths in Rhode Island from 2009 to 2020.


Employment and Training Administration
November 1, 2021
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Media Contact: Monica Vereen
Media Contact: Arjun Singh
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