Tackling the opioid crisis together

August 31, 2017

Fueled by an uptick in the use of the opiate drug fentanyl, Connecticut is set to have 1,078 accidental drug overdose deaths this year – up from 917 in 2016.

As we continue to battle the opioid crisis that has taken hold of this state, we remember the lives that were lost to addiction on International Overdose Awareness Day, which was held Aug. 30 and Aug. 31.

This year, we took action at the state level to address this growing public health issue. House Bill 7052, which was signed into law by Governor Malloy, will help reduce addiction and overdoses by limiting the maximum opioid drug prescription for minors from 7 days to 5 days. This legislation also requires health insurers to cover medically necessary, inpatient detoxification services for an insured diagnosed with a substance abuse disorder.

But we cannot fight this opioid epidemic alone. We all need to work together to prevent one less person from falling victim to addiction.

These are some of the steps Connecticut residents can take to make a difference in their communities and help combat the opioid crisis:

  • Visit your local permanent drug drop box to dispose of unneeded medication in your home. For a list of drop boxes in your area, visit www.ct.gov/dropbox.
  • Dispose of unneeded medication safely by running prescription drugs under hot water, sealing it tightly in a container and throwing it away.
  • Get a prescription for the opioid-countering drug, naloxone, and learn how to use the medication. You can take a look at this map to find a pharmacy near you with staff certified to prescribe naloxone.

While we have taken steps at the legislature to address the opioid crisis, our work is not done. I remain committed to fighting for more legislation that strengthens the oversight of prescriptions for painkillers, increases the number of treatment programs available and expands access to naloxone.

If you have questions or concerns regarding naloxone prescriptions or drug drop boxes in Connecticut, contact the Division of State Drug Control at dcp.drugcontrol@ct.gov or 860-713-6065. To be connected to addiction treatment or services, individuals can call the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) Access Line at 1-800-563-4086.