April 6, 2018

CT scores high for its opioid response

Connecticut is one of a small group of municipalities earning positive recognition for its coordinated response to the nation's mounting opioid crisis, authorities say.

The National Safety Council's new report this week tagged Connecticut, plus 12 other states and the District of Columbia, with a "B" grade and "improving'' for its efforts to protect residents from opioid overdoses. No state rated an "A'', NSC said, while 26 states did not earn a passing grade.

The National Safety Council is an Itasca, Ill., nonprofit devoted to eliminating preventable deaths at work, home, and in the community.

The other states that received the highest rating were Arizona, Delaware, Georgia, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Rhode Island, Virginia and West Virginia.

Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, in a statement Friday, hailed the report as proof that Connecticut's anti-opioid initiatives are comprehensive, but still not enough.

"Addressing the opioid crisis has been a top priority for our administration," Malloy said. "While this is undoubtedly good news, more work remains. We must continue to devote our time, resources, and energy to combatting this tragic epidemic that has ravaged families and communities across the geographic and socioeconomic spectrum."

State agencies, including the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, the Department of Consumer Protection, the Department of Public Health, the Department of Children and Families, and the Department of Corrections, are working collaboratively to implement the state's response to the opioid crisis, the governor said

Connecticut's anti-opioid initiatives so far have included: expanded access to naloxone, a life-saving drug used in the event of an opioid overdose; more access to medication assisted treatment for opioid use disorder; enacted restrictions on the prescribing of prescription opioids;
Promoted the safe disposal of unused prescription medications; and
implemented a program to connect recovery coaches to individuals who appear in hospitals emergency rooms due to drug- or alcohol-related medical emergencies.

In March, Connecticut launched a statewide public awareness campaign, "Change the Script," to help communities, health care providers, pharmacists and individuals deal with the prescription drug and opioids misuse and overdose crisis plaguing Connecticut and the nation.

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