Volume 04 | April 22, 2020
Your Weekly News & Updates
Hello colleagues, committee members, volunteers, and friends!

We hope this newsletter finds you and your family well. The coronavirus and COVID-19 disease has dramatically changed everyone's lives. Our staff have been working remotely since March 16th. We are thankful for our good health and that of our families. Our hearts go out to those who are suffering during this difficult time and we thank our healthcare workers who risk their safety for the sake of caring for others.

Much of our work revolves around being personally connected to all of you and to those we serve in the 43 towns within region 5. We hope this weekly update will help to keep us all connected- with news and resources to share. We will be sending one out every Wednesday. We welcome any feedback.

Be well and stay safe.
Its Not All Bad....
Today is the 50th anniversary of Earth Day!
We hope you have a chance to go out and enjoy what this beautiful earth has to offer - a walk is good for the mind, body, and spirit!
(Just don't forget to practice physical distancing and wear a mask if your walk is in a public place).

From the New York Post April 13th:
NASA has been monitoring air quality around the world for many years now but never before has the space agency noticed as dramatic a shift as it has since coronavirus lockdown measures were put into place. The photo here to the left shows off some incredible satellite views of the east coast of the United States, revealing the incredible improvement in air quality now that drivers aren’t doing nearly as much driving.
From the CT Department of Public Health-
CT Residents: We need your help! Help us improve COVID-19 Response in CT, and please download the HowWeFeel app at  www.HowWeFeel.org  

COVID-19 testing data is just the tip of the iceberg. By using the HowWeFeel app, we can better understand if COVID-19 illness is emerging in a community, and help us predict new emerging hot-spots. Staff at the Governor’s office and at CT Department of Public Health have worked with the amazing people at HowWeFeel to launch a custom app in CT.

It only takes a moment, and for each response, Feeding America provides a meal to someone in need.

Spread the word, please share! Thank you!
Regional Opioid Prevention Policy Workgroup

The DEA Take Back Day takes place bi-annually and provides an opportunity for folks to clean out their medicine cabinets and safely dispose of any unused medications in their homes. This month's DEA Take Back Day has been postponed. Permanent drop-boxes are located in many of our local police department lobbies and are open. To locate a permanent box near you, use this DEA web page link. If due to social distancing folks are hesitant to use these boxes, there are alternatives (see below)
There are ways to safely dispose of unused prescription drug medications at home:
Follow any specific disposal instructions that come with your prescription medication packaging. If no instructions are provided, follow these steps to safely dispose of your medications at home:
  1. Protect personal information. Be sure to remove any labels or use a permanent marker to cross out any personal details.
  2. Make the leftover medication less appealing. Mixing medications with hot water will dissolve them. Adding an undesirable substance like salt, ashes, sawdust, used coffee grounds or kitty litter is another option.
  3. Contain and seal. Place the mixture in an opaque container and tape it shut.
  4. After completing steps 1-3, throw the container into the trash. Do not throw it in your recycling bin.
Why can’t medications be flushed down the toilet?
Flushed medications make their way into our lakes, rivers and streams. Research has shown continuous exposure to low levels of medications has altered the behavior and physiology of fish and other aquatic organisms.

For more information on medication safety, prevention, treatment and recovery of opioid use disorder, visit drugfreect.org- click on the logo above for link.
Drug Free Schools Committee

The University of Maryland School of Social Work is offering several webinars focused on challenges facing educators and families during this time. Here is one example:
A Conversation on School Mental Health—Supporting Educators—During COVID-19
Join us for a conversation on the challenges of COVID-19 designed to promote mental health and well-being for all students. Hear about ideas for providing social emotional supports via distance technology, for continuing school mental health interventions when school is out, and for coping with student behavioral health crises. Learn about specific experiences from the field and brainstorm solutions and innovations with peers from across the country.

Click on their logo here to link to the web page and a complete list of their offerings
Catchment Area Councils

CAC 22 held its first Zoom meeting this week! Group members provided helpful updates regarding services for those experiencing homelessness, mental health concerns and more, as well as resource lists to share among their networks. They will meet again next month and meeting information will be provided ahead of time.

Click here for free resources to support mental health and wellness!
Region 5 Suicide Advisory Board
The team at Shine, in partnership with Mental Health America, has vetted and compiled a wealth of research-backed and helpful tools for you—articles, meditations, access to mental health experts, anxiety screenings, and more. Think of Care For Your Coronavirus Anxiety as your mental health toolkit during this time. The hope is that you and others can use this safe space on the internet to help you take care, get support, and find the calm you deserve. The site includes resources around
  • Anxiety
  • Mediation
  • Isolation
  • Financial Fears
Question, Persuade, Refer or QPR , is a Suicide Prevention Gatekeeper training that teaches individuals to recognize the signs that someone is thinking about suicide and how to connect them to the help they need. Due to the the social, economic, and emotional stress COVID-19 is adding to the burdens many people are already are experiencing, QPR will be available as an online training for a limited time.

If you are interested in scheduling an online QPR training, please email Abby at awood@wctcoalition.org
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 at 1-800-273-TALK.
Local Prevention Councils

Here is a sampling of what our LPCs are doing in their communities while social distancing
NMCAN has partnered with New Milford Social Services to hand out Deterra Drug Disposal Bags to Food Bank clients in the upcoming weeks. This initiative is to help families socially isolating and distancing to dispose of prescription drugs and limit the access of these drugs to unwanted hands.
Additionally, NMCAN has created a flyer that will be sent out to families regarding the importance of Developmental Relationships, a topic made increasingly crucial by the COVID-19 Pandemic. 
And for the first time, NMCAN will look to offer a scholarship to a NMHS graduate selected for their dedication to the well-being of their peers and community regarding mental health and substance abuse prevention.
The Teen Council of Stand Together Make a Difference Danbury coalition, is engaging the community to participate in #chalkwalk which begins Monday April 20. They are asking the community to draw encouraging pictures on driveways and sidewalks and post them on social media. This can also be done in parking lots of work spaces like schools and the Danbury Police Department!
Step Up Naugy has been holding training webinars including "Vaping & ENDS" and "Mentor and Volunteer 101". Using their survey data, they have been posting prevention messages on Facebook with a focus on alcohol, vaping, and marijuana use. They held their first Zoom coalition meeting in April.
Problem Gambling Awareness
Help is available in CT if you or someone you love struggles with
Problem Gambling
Our Partners: (logos link to web pages)
Community Partners

The State of Connecticut has launched the  Talk it Out Line
1-833-258-5011, to help parents and caregivers cope with the stress and increased needs resulting from caring for their children during the COVID-19 pandemic.
Click on the photo for a link to the web page with additional resources
Introducing TTASC Best Practice Forums
and Open Networking Sessions

Join your fellow prevention coalition leaders in our Best Practice Sharing Forums and Open Networking Sessions. These events use our field forum approach to enable prevention professionals from around the state to share their successful implementation strategies and challenges.
Bring your successes and your questions!

Click here for more information and registration.