State Opioid Response Prevention Programs
DMHAS Prevention and Health Promotion Division has secured funding from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, State Opioid Response (SOR) Grant to administer and implement the following prevention programs, partnerships and collaborations to address the opioid crisis in Connecticut:
Regional Behavioral Health Action Organizations work to increase awareness of the dangers of opioid use disorders (OUD) through the prevention of non-prescription opioid use and the progression from use of prescription opioids to the use of readily accessible and inexpensive heroin through multi-faceted prevention strategies, across the state. They do this through:
- Naloxone (Narcan©) training and kit distribution integrated with QPR Gatekeeper Training and orientation to the Columbia Suicide Severity Risk Scale (C-SSRS) basic screener all that educate trainees how to recognize and respond to individuals at risk and connect them to appropriate levels of care;
- Maintaining a list of naloxone trainers and distributors in the region.
- Promotion of innovative and evidence-based strategies on proper storage and disposal of controlled substances for communities and campuses (e.g. disposal bags, lock and/or drop boxes), and the Change the Script state opioid awareness campaign and the drugfreect.org website.
- Administration of community mini-grants to establish/support recovery-friendly communities, and develop and/or enhance local opioid addiction and overdose prevention and response efforts.
Overdose Education and Naloxone Distribution Program is a collaborative pilot program between the CT DMHAS and Department of Public Health (DPH) to distribute naloxone (Narcan©) statewide to high risk populations served via 11 DPH HIV Prevention Program. This pilot also issues opioid overdose prevention education to opioid users and to trusted people in their lives such as family, friends, and staff of human services programs.
National Suicide Prevention Lifeline (NSPL) services are provided by the United Way of Connecticut/211, and callers identified at risk of suicide and who are in need of substance use disorder services are referred and connected to those resources.
Courage to Speak® – Courageous Parenting 101 “Parenting through the Opioid Crisis and Beyond” is an online interactive training for parents, educators and adults working with youth. This Courage to Speak Foundation (CTSF) program is focused to help these individuals better understand the current drug and opioid crisis, and how to effectively talk to youth to prevent substance abuse and misuse. Live trainings at schools and in community settings are also available by contacting CTSF.
The Connecticut Healthy Campus Initiative Campus Opioid Education and Awareness Program is managed by the Connecticut Clearinghouse and provides mini-grants to 20 Connecticut institutions of higher education to support opioid education and awareness programing, and training on proper administration of Naloxone.
Prevention Training and Technical Service Center has expanded their existing online training by creating explainer web-based videos and hybrid web-based videos to address polysubstance use, gateway drugs and the impact of use/addiction as it effects special populations such as criminal justice involved, native, unemployed, and disabled individuals.
State Education Resource Center is working to provide district-wide professional learning and services that bring awareness directly into the classroom about the statewide efforts in reducing the overdose deaths caused by opioids. Identified school districts will formalize a systems approach to substance abuse to support their districts, and piloting implementation of a K-12th grade curriculum that addresses opioid prevention. With district and school-based leadership teams comprised of district leaders, school leaders, educators, families, community stakeholders, and students, SERC will design, coordinate, and facilitate intentional and actionable professional learning that will guide and support equitable reflection, problem solving, decision making, and strategic implementation around systemic opioid prevention efforts.
Connecticut Clearinghouse is supporting a mobile library that will attend sporting and community events, libraries, schools and shopping plaza parking lots to distribute information about opioid awareness and education and Narcan. The Clearinghouse also manages the opioid targeted social media campaign “Change the Script”. This campaign has been expanded to address a variety of audiences including the elderly, construction trades, realtors, with downloadable and customizable materials available on the drugfreect.org website.
Academic Detailing on Opioid Safety (ADOPS) is being implemented by four local health districts (East Shore District Health Department, Ledge Light Health District, North Central District Health Department and Torrington Area Health District) and the modules were developed by staff at UConn School of Pharmacy. Academic Detailing consists of three modules that are presented to prescribers and pharmacists during three-twenty minute visits by health district staff who have been trained as Academic Detailers. The three modules are: 1) Connecticut Prescription Monitoring and Reporting System (CPMRS), 2) Naloxone Prescribing and Administration, and 3) Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT). Prescribers and pharmacists who participate in the program receive continuing education credits. Any Connecticut prescriber or pharmacist can participate in this program.
Governor’s Prevention Partnership provides lunch-and-learn opportunities on opioid use disorders for Connecticut businesses. These in person trainings and webinars provide participants with tools and resources to identify signs of opioid misuse, safely store and dispose of unused or expired medication, and how to get help for themselves or someone they know. These presentations help link employees to Employee Assistance Programs (EAP) and provide them with local treatment and recovery information.
“How Can We Help?” Initiative
Providers partner with first responders to follow up on recent overdoses in “hotspot” locations throughout Connecticut. This outreach and education program supported by recovery coaches is intended to reach those individuals who do not show up in traditional treatment programs. This work includes educational outreach to first responders to form a partnership.