PROVIDENCE, R.I. (AP) – A Rhode Island lawmaker has introduced legislation that would make Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous meetings essential and allow them to be held in person during the coronavirus pandemic and other declared emergencies.
“The services provided by Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous are not only essential, they are necessary for the public health,” state Rep. Camille Vella-Wilkinson said in a statement Monday. “During the pandemic, AA meetings were designated as a social gathering rather than an essential service, while liquor stores were considered essential and permitted to remain open.”
The Warwick Democrat noted that many people are court-ordered to attend AA meetings. The bill would also mandate that adequate measures be implemented to provide the services safely. “To consider this service as non-essential when the results can be devastating is not only absurd, it’s reckless,” she said.