Volume 13| July 23, 2020
Your Weekly News & Updates
Our focus in this issue is to highlight prevention efforts
around the opioid crisis.

Please share!
Contact Dawn Fawcett- admin@wctcoalition.org
to be added to our email list.

Be well and stay safe.
COVID-19 Resources
Access to Food
In last week's issue we highlighted Maslow's Heirarchy of needs. At the bottom of that pyramid are basic needs like food and shelter. Everyone deserves access to healthy and nutritious food.

The Connecticut Food Bank is a great organization working to stop hunger in CT. Click here to connect to information about their Mobile Pantry and to a search engine to find food pantries in every town in CT. You can also make a donation.
Regional Opioid Prevention Policy Workgroup Update
In the news.....

We don't have all the data for the first half of 2019 here in CT, but we have heard anecdotally that overdose deaths are on the rise and fentanyl continues to be involved a majority of the time. Around the nation, articles have sited overdose spikes in places like Virginia, Wisconsin, Ohio and Tennessee. COVID-19 has increased risk factors due to unemployment, stress, isolation, and in some cases erosion of treatment. (click here to read more about overdose spikes in the U.S)

NPR recently reported that over-prescribing of opioids is still a problem in the U.S. " Public data, including new government studies and reports in medical literature, shows enough prescriptions are being written each year for half of all Americans to have one. Patients still receive more than twice the volume of opioids considered normal before the prescribing boom began in the late 1990s". The full article can be found here .
What are Opioids?

Opioids are a class of drugs naturally found in the opium poppy plant. Some prescription opioid drugs are made from the plant directly, and others are made by scientists in labs using the same chemical structure. Opioids are often used as medicines because they contain chemicals that relax the body and can relieve pain. Prescription opioids are used mostly to treat moderate to severe pain. Opioids can be highly addictive, and overdoses and death are common. Heroin is one of the world’s most dangerous opioids, and is never used as a medicine in the United States.
Patient Self-Advocacy

If a medical professional prescribes you pain medication or any other type of medication, engage them in conversation to learn more about the medication and its effects.

Some questions to ask your doctor or pharmacist include:
  • Why am I being prescribed this medication?
  • How much of this medication do I take and for how long?
  • How will this interact with my other medications?
  • What are the side effects?
  • What are my other options for managing my pain?
Drug Free Schools Committee
Resources for Parents and Families
Safe Medication Storage
Many individuals misusing prescription opioids (especially adolescents and young adults) get opioids from friends and/or family members. Almost one third of Connecticut high school students misusing pain medications were given them or took them from their home or someone else’s home (CT YRBS, 2017) .
Safe Storage Tips
Lock your medications . Keeping your medications behind lock and key helps prevent medications from getting in the hands of children, adolescents, guests and anyone else who may enter your home. You can do this by using a lock box, log bag, or medication safe.
Don’t save leftover medications.  Keeping medications that are expired or unused increases the risk for medication misuse.
Safe Disposal
Permanent drop boxes are located in almost every community in CT. For more information and to access an interactive map of medication drop boxes near you go to drugfreect.org

Another way to safely dispose of unused medications is by using a Deterra Bag. Contact us for more information.
Mental Health
Region 5 Suicide Advisory Board Update
Suicide Deaths Are a Major Component of the Opioid Crisis that Must Be Addressed

"We’ve heard a lot about the opioid epidemic, and the rising toll it is taking on our communities. In 201 7,  47,600 people died from overdoses   involving prescription or illicit opioids. But the opioid overdose epidemic is not limited to people with opioid addiction who accidentally take too much of a pain reliever or unknowingly inject a tainted heroin product. Concealed in the alarming number of overdose deaths is a significant number of people who have decided to take their own life."

-NIMH Director Joshua Gordon

Click here to read more
We will continue to offer the QPR- Question, Pursuade, Refer Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper Training as a webinar. Our July trainings are full but we will have a new flyer out soon with our August dates.

If you are part of a community group or organization who would like to host a training, please contact Kathy Hanley- khanley@wctcoalition.org or Abby Wood- awood@wctcoalition.org
(We ask for a minimum of 12 and not more than 20 participants.)

If you’re feeling alone and struggling, you can reach out the CrisisText Line by texting CT to 741-741 or
the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline
Grassroots Efforts - The Opioid Crisis

Over the course of the last 2 years, the Western CT Coalition has awarded over 40 State Opioid Response (SOR) mini-grants to our Local Prevention Councils.

Here are a few examples of the prevention efforts utilizing these funds:

  • Billboards featuring the Change the Script and LiveLOUD state-wide campaigns. Currently there are 3 billboards up in our service area!
  • School and community education and awareness on topics of substance use disorder, safe storage, safe disposal, and access to treatment
  • Community Narcan trainings and distribution of Narcan to those who need it
  • Community QPR trainings to reduce suicide risk
  • Engagement with doctors, dentists, and pharmacists about the Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PDMP)
  • Work toward establishing "Recovery Friendly Communities"

With messages like "You Are Not Alone" and "No More Shame", the CT LiveLOUD campaign aims to reduce stigma around opioid use disorder and reduce barriers to treatment and recovery.
Problem Gambling Awareness
Our Partners
In In this

The Western CT Coalition would like to shine the spotlight on 2 members of the New Milford CAN LPC who were recently recognized in the community.
Diane Swanson was included in the 2020 Litchfield Magazine's list of " The 25 Most Creative, Intriguing, Talented, Giving". Diane, an active member of NMCAN and Director of the Pratt Nature Center was the recipient of our Carl Bailey Asset Builder Award in 2019. She opened the first outdoor preschool in 2019- The Pratt Nature School.
CT Post photo

Jason O'Connor was just named Executive Director of the New Milford Youth Agency. Jason is the Chairperson of NMCAN and a long-time partner of the Western CT Coalition. Prior to being named Executive Director he was the Youth Advocate at NMYA for many years.