As we wrap up our week of NPHW activities, CCHD would like to highlight the beginning of our next public health journey into the ever-growing opioid epidemic.  
 
According to the U.S. Surgeon General, 78 Americans die from overdose each day, with the number of deaths nearly tripling since 1999.   Prescription drugs have been deemed the new gateway drug, with nearly 259 million prescriptions written in 2012 alone.  In fact, 80% of new heroin users started by misusing prescription drugs.  This epidemic is affecting our youth dramatically, as heroin and prescription drug use has more than doubled in young adults ages 18-25.  
 
In order to discuss this growing problem in our towns, CCHD brought together over 40 key members from our communities to an event called “Addressing Opioid Abuse: Local Stakeholder Forum” on April 6, 2017 at the William J. Pitkin Community Center in Wethersfield.  Speakers from the North Central Regional Mental Health Board, Aetna Ambulance, Rushford, and Coram Deo Recovery discussed the importance of tackling opioid use and attendees began work on developing a community approach for our 98,000 residents.
 
Additionally, the Health District will take part in the Town of Wethersfield Community Forum on Monday, April 10, 2017, 7:00 pm at Wethersfield High School.  This event, hosted by Representatives Russ Morin and Tony Guerrera, will bring together health care experts to discuss the heroin and opioid epidemic in Wethersfield. 
 
Although NPHW may be coming to a close, the Central Connecticut Health District will continue to work diligently on a daily basis to ensure that its residents are able to “make the healthy choice the easy choice”.