Press Release, 4-6-18

 

GOV. MALLOY: NEW REPORT RANKS CONNECTICUT AMONG TOP STATES IN NATION FOR ITS PROGRESS IN RESPONDING TO THE OPIOID CRISIS

Implementing Prescriber Guidelines and Increased Availability to Treatment Among Key Actions Highlighted in Report

(HARTFORD, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy today announced that the National Safety Council has awarded Connecticut its highest mark for the state’s response to the opioid crisis in a new report released this week.  Connecticut is one of only thirteen states, along with the District of Columbia, to receive the uppermost mark of “Improving” from the organization, indicating that the state has implemented comprehensive, proven actions to eliminate opioid overdoses and help protect its residents.  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.

“Addressing the opioid crisis has been a top priority for our administration,” Governor 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.”

“This score reflects the important work we’ve done to curb opioid use and raise awareness of addiction and treatment, and I agree with Governor Malloy that there is more work to be done,” Lt. Governor Wyman said.  “I applaud our many partners and stakeholders who have engaged around opioid addiction and healthcare – they have been the catalyst for saving lives and ensuring Connecticut remains responsive and attentive to the victims of the opioid epidemic and their families.”

A number of Connecticut state agencies, including the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), the Department of Consumer Protection (DCP), the Department of Public Health (DPH), the Department of Children and Families (DCF), and the Department of Corrections (DOC), have been working collaboratively to implement the state’s response to the opioid crisis.

In addition, the state’s Alcohol and Drug Policy Council, comprised of representatives from all three branches of state government, consumer and advocacy groups, private service providers, individuals in recovery from addictions, and other stakeholders, has also been working on the state’s coordinated efforts.  Last year, the Council, co-chaired by the Commissioners of DMHAS and DCF, developed recommendations to address opioid addiction across the lifespan in the state.

“Connecticut’s high ranking for our response to the opioid crisis is a testament to the state’s commitment to turning the tide on opioid addiction,” DMHAS Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon said.  “I appreciate all of the hard work that has been dedicated to this crisis at the state, local and community levels and value the strong collaborative efforts taking place throughout the state.”

“Connecticut is ranked among the top states for our opioid response because of the leadership of Governor Malloy and the collaborative work among state agencies and our local and community partners to tackle the epidemic of prescription drug and opioid misuse and overdose,” DPH Commissioner Dr. Raul Pino said.  “The Department of Public Health is proud to be a part of these efforts.  Just recently, we completed enhancements to our syndromic surveillance program that will allow us to share real-time data on suspected overdoses in the state’s emergency departments.  This data, along with information gathered by our partners and shared collaboratively, will give everyone a more complete picture of this multi-faceted crisis that will allow us to more effectively direct resources and deploy programs to fight the opioid epidemic.”

“We have always known that combating the opioid crisis would be a collaborative effort, and here at DCP, we’re thankful to partner with our sister agencies to help as many families as possible,” DCP Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull said.  “I’m proud of all the work that our Drug Control Division does to regulate pharmaceuticals in the state, administer the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program, enable the safe disposal of unneeded medications and support safe access to naloxone.  While we’re pleased with the progress we’ve made, we know this fight is not over, and we look forward to continued collaboration with other agencies and partners at the federal, state, and local levels.”

“All our systems are confronted by the impact of opioids on families,” DCF Commissioner Joette Katz said.  “In Connecticut, we have managed to utilize innovative funding sources in the private sector to expand proven-effective treatment services that can help prevent placement into foster care while maintaining child safety and keeping families intact.”

Over the past several years, Connecticut has taken significant strides in addressing the opioid crisis, including through:

  • Expanded access to naloxone, a life-saving drug used in the event of an opioid overdose;
  • Increased 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 with lived experience to individuals who report to the emergency department as a result of drug or alcohol-related medical emergencies. (Since the program began in 2017, over 700 individuals have been connected to addiction treatment or services through the program.)

Last month, Connecticut launched its 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.

The National Safety Council is a nonprofit organization whose mission is to eliminate preventable deaths at work, in homes and communities, and on the road through leadership, research, education and advocacy.