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LiveStories Gives a More In-Depth Analysis of the Opioid Crisis In Our City
DHMHAS: Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services
DHMAS has established the 24/7 Access Line to identify real-time bed availability and to facilitate access to treatment for substance use disorders. Individuals from anywhere in Connecticut may call for help with linkages to residential substance abuse treatment services, detox programs, recovery housing, and sober houses. The Access Line is also able to prioritize transportation services for detox. The Access Line may also be able arrange transportation to DMHAS addiction residential treatment (although transportation services are prioritized for detox).
If you or someone you know is struggling with opioids or other substances, you are not alone. There are ways to connect and get the support you need. Talk to a peer, call for treatment options, connect on social media, or search for 12 step or other support groups in your community.
NORA: Naloxone Overdose Response Application
NORA is a free app from the Connecticut Department of Public Health. Use NORA to prevent, treat, and report opioid overdose.
Understand the opioid epidemic and find statistics, resources and information on opioids.
About the Opioid Crisis
The United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic. Opioids (including prescription opioids, heroin, and fentanyl) are highly addictive. The CDC stated that more than 67,000 people died from drug overdoses in 2018, making it a leading cause of injury-related death in the United States. Of those deaths, almost 70% involved a prescription or illicit opioid. Optimistically, it has been shown that prevention and intervention can play a positive role in recovery. The CDC reported that the number of drug overdose deaths decreased by 4% from 2017 to 2018. Our mission here is to provide the necessary services to help those with OUD recover. Our cutting edge Warm Hand Off Program involves a team of dedicated individuals that will assist persons who have overdosed to proper care in hopes of encouraging a path to recovery. Come see us.
Close-up on Connecticut
The misuse of prescription medications and opioid-based drugs has increased significantly over the years and is a public health concern in Connecticut as well. This misuse includes taking medications in higher doses than prescribed, for a purpose other than that for which it was prescribed, or taking a medication that was prescribed for another person or obtained off the streets. Opioid overdose is often characterized by a decrease in breathing rate which if not quickly addressed leads to death.
IMPORTANT INFORMATION ABOUT OPIOID OVERDOSE:
Common Risk Factors for Opioid Overdose:
- Mixing opioids with other drugs, particularly alcohol or sedatives
- Resumption of use after a period of abstinence from opioid use, such as recent release from a rehabilitation center or from incarceration
- Elderly persons may forget that they already took their medication and accidentally re-take the same medication
- Younger age groups, specifically teens or early 20s exposed to peer pressure or social environments where there is drug use
Signs of an opioid overdose:
- Face is extremely pale and/or clammy to the touch
- Body is limp
- Fingernails or lips have a blue or purple cast
- Vomiting or making gurgling noises
- Cannot be awakened from sleep or is unable to speak
- Breathing is very slow or stopped
- Heartbeat is very slow or stopped
What should I do if I see an overdose?
- Call 911 immediately!
- Support the person's breathing
- Administer naloxone (Narcan) if you have it
- Lay the person on their side once they have resumed breathing
- Stay with the overdosed person until the ambulance arrives
OPIOID OVERDOSE PREVENTION POWERPOINT
To learn more visit Drug Free CT https://www.drugfreect.org/
OD2A: Overdose Data To Action
Waterbury's response to the opioid crisis originated with the Connecticut Opioid Response Initiative, or CORe grant. Issued by CT DPH, the CORe grant allocated funding to support Mayor O'Leary launch of an Opioid Task Force which included close collaboration between Waterbury Health, Fire, and Police Departments. A major component of CORe was the initial development of a pamphlet for overdose survivors and their loved ones that provided connection to care resources- agency names and telephone contact information. This is sometimes known as a "Cold Hand Off" where the OD survivor must initiate access to care on their own, often times leaving an emergency room still at risk. Waterbury knew that this was just the start. With CT Overdose Data Action (OD2A) grant, Waterbury "brought the pamphlet to life" by developing a Warm Hand Off Program- one in which a trained Overdose Response Technician meets overdose survivors in real time, to encourage referral to treatment for substance use, and other connections to care, that help reduce risk and improve outcomes for persons affected by opioids. The services provided under OD2A build upon the groundwork laid by the CORe grant, enhancing prevention, intervention, treatment, recovery efforts and engagement, with the ultimate goal of decreasing overdoses and overdose-related deaths in our city.
The City of Waterbury Is Here For You, And We Want To Help. Come See Me!
The Warm Hand Off Program is initiated when anyone in the city of Waterbury experiences an opioid related overdose. The ultimate goal of this program is to connect the person to care, primarily substance abuse treatment services.
Overdose Response Technicians (ORT) trained and certified as Recovery Coaches are dispatched to the scene of an overdose with support from the Waterbury Police Department, and/ or follow-up at hospital emergency departments and other settings to engage at-risk persons.
The overdose survivor is asked to voluntarily engage with the ORT who follows up with the person a minimum of 5 times over the course of 30 days: at 24 hour post-overdose, 48 hours, 72 hours, 14 days and 30 days. While engaged in follow-up, the ORT offers Harm Reduction tools such as naloxone and other risk & prevention resources.
At times, the ORTs also provide resources and linkages to care for others, if an overdose is fatal, if the person at-risk is unreceptive to help and support, or if Waterbury first responders request an ORT "on-scene" to assist with other at-risk persons in the city (i.e. homeless, pan-handling, or sex worker populations).
For more information, view the video “The Opioid Crisis Hits Home: Stories from Connecticut,” from the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Connecticut at:
Meet The Team
Samuel Bowens III, CHW
Prevention & Reduction Section Chief
Crystallee Martel, CPS
Program Evaluator/Data Analysis Manager
Local Prevention Council Coordinator
OVERDOSE DATA TO ACTION (OD2A) OPIOID OUTREACH WORKERS