The Opioid Crisis Hits Home: Stories from Connecticut

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The misuse and abuse of prescription medication and opioids has become a real public health concern in Connecticut.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), the United States is in the midst of an opioid overdose epidemic. It is important to understand that many opioid addictions and deaths started with a prescription to deal with pain related to a sports injury, a surgical procedure, or a chronic illness. In 2016, 40% of the 42,000 opioid overdose deaths involved a prescription opioid. Addiction knows no boundaries – this is a real issue whether you live in the city, suburbs, or rural area.

In Connecticut, there are nearly three deaths a day from opioid overdose and the number of deaths have doubled since 2014, from 623 to over 1,000 deaths in 2017. The following link contains information on opiod use in Connecticut:

In addition, the use of heroin has been increasing among groups that had historically low rates such as: women, privately insured, and people with higher incomes. In 2017, nearly 494,000 people in the U.S. reported using heroin in the past year, and 47,600 died. The increased use of heroin is related to the abuse of opioids. When someone can no longer obtain prescriptions opioids, they often turn to heroin to ease their withdrawal.

The Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) now has a toll-free number connecting residents to treatment services for opioid addictions. Residents will now be able to call 1-800-563-4086, 24 hours a day, to connect them or a loved one to the nearest walk-in assessment center. In addition, callers will be followed up with a phone call by trained staff to determine if they were successful in connecting to the necessary services and problem-solve any barriers they may have encountered. For more information, visit the website at or call Infoline at 2-1-1.

Photo by owlana