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Bristol-Burlington health district receives funding For opioid use disorders

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JACK KRAMPITZ MARCH 25, 2021

The State of Connecticut was recently awarded a State Opioid Response (SOR) grant from Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administrations Center for Substance Abuse Prevention to address the opioid crisis by increasing access to medication-assisted treatment, reducing unmet treatment needs and by reducing opioid overdose related deaths through the provision of prevention, treatment and recovery activities for opioid use disorder.

“The grant is led by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS),” said Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu. “Their priorities include targeting different community sectors, including Academic Detailing for Opioid Safety (ADOPS). The initiative provides pharmacists and physicians with opioid use disorder information as well as local resources through twenty minute modules delivered by the health district/department staff. Pharmacists and physicians receive continuing education credits for their participation.”

“In December 2020, Connecticut cities and towns with a disproportionate burden for opioid use disorder were identified to implement the ADOPS,” said Bristol-Burlington Health District Director Marco Palmeri. “Selection was based on a number of factors including opioid overdoses deaths, capacity to address local issues related to substance misuse, and sub-populations that are experiencing health disparities. It was determined that health departments/districts in the identified municipalities would be the best stewards for the grant funds, as they will be able to streamline existing opioid misuse prevention efforts and maximize funding.”

“With the receipt of $42,000, the BBHD is now actively engaged in the process to bring these life-saving services to Bristol and Burlington,” said Angelika Andrukiewicz, B.S., MPH, Health District Program Manager.

There are currently three (3) modules developed and in use: CT Prescription Monitoring & Report Systems, Naloxone prescribing and administration, and Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT). Two additional modules are in development. Other prevention initiatives include CHANGE THE SCRIPT, LiveLOUD and training on and distribution of the opioid antagonist naloxone. “All of these elements will be in play here, and the Mayor’s Task Force on Opioid Prevention will be supporting the Health District’s efforts as well,” said Councilman Scott Rosado who serves on the Task Force.

“A lot of credit has to be given to the Health District team,” said Police Chief Brian Gould. “While managing their pandemic response, they are still actively participating in the community’s response to the opioid public health crisis and making progress with our other coalition members. Last calendar year, we saw a reduced number of opioid related deaths, which I believe is directly linked to the community education and awareness we have all been working toward, as well as the distribution and use of Narcan by friends and family members.

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