Tuesday’s Addressing the Opioid Crisis lecture at Beacon Hall gave attendees a glimpse into the ongoing opioid crisis within the state as well as information on life-saving techniques by use of the drug Narcan.
Ellen Brezovsky, LCSW and Director of Community Relations for Silver Hill Hospital, didn’t hold back when presenting the facts on opioid abuse and addiction. “We’re on track to see over 1,000 overdoses in Connecticut alone this year.” Brezovsky said. “This is why proper information and access to Narcan is more important than ever.”
Narcan, the medication used to block the effect of opioids, especially in overdoses, is seeing a rise in availability –both in school settings and in pharmacies. As part of HCC’s State Targeted Response (STR) grant, training has been provided for proper Narcan administration and safe storage, however there is a way for anyone to learn how to properly use the medicine and where to find it.
“There’s an app that allows you to enter your zip code and find places that carry Narcan.” Brezovsky said. The app, Narcan Now, works by tracking your location in real-time to guide you to the closest available pharmacy free of charge. The app also provides instructions on proper administration. “When you come across someone who has overdosed, time is a factor.” Brezovsky said. “It can take minutes for an ambulance to arrive, so access to Narcan is critical.”
Brezovsky attributes the rise in opioid abuse and overdose to the relatively cheap ingredients and the ease of production. Chief among opioids is fentanyl, a drug Brezovsky says is “up to 50 times more powerful than heroin.” The affordability of fentanyl and heroin virtually ensures easy access and availability. “We’re talking around five dollars for a bag of heroin.” Brezovsky said.
“While much of this information is bleak,” Brezovsky said, “Knowledge and preparation are our biggest ally in fighting (opioid abuse).”
For more information on opioid abuse, including resources on prevention and treatment, visit http://www.ct.gov/dmhas/cwp/view.asp?a=2902&q=560348