|State Rep. Theresa Conroy|
DERBY- State Rep. Theresa Conroy (D-Seymour, Beacon Falls, Derby), state Sen. Joseph J. Crisco, Jr (D-Woodbridge) and state Rep. Linda Gentile (D-Ansonia, Derby) held a community forum on the prescription drug and heroin epidemic that is decimating communities across the nation and here in our backyard.
About 100 members of the community attended the forum March 29 at Griffin Hospital in Derby.
“Heroin overdoses are claiming more lives in Connecticut every year,” Rep. Conroy said. “Last year we had over 400 heroin-related deaths; in 2012 we had fewer than 90.”
Over the past two years, the Connecticut legislature has increased tools to address the state’s heroin crisis. Connecticut has increased access to lifesaving opioid antagonists. Naloxone, or Narcan, is an opioid antagonist that works to reverse the effects of opioids. Nalaxone is not addictive and has little side effects, as compared to other self-administered drugs such as an epi pen – It simply saves the lives of people who have overdosed on an opioid.
The legislature is currently reviewing SB 352, An Act Concerning Prescriptions for and the Dispensing of Opioid Antagonists, which would limit first time adult opioid prescriptions for non-chronic pain to a seven day supply and limit all prescriptions for minors.
“Connecticut has recognized that the opioid epidemic is a public health crisis,” Rep. Conroy added. “Prescription painkillers are often the first step on a path to devastating addiction.”
The Center for Disease Control and Prevention advised doctors to refrain from giving opioid prescriptions to patients suffering from non-chronic pain, stating that the risks for such patients include addiction and death. The CDC also reported that from 2000 to 2014, the numbers of overdose deaths involving opioids, which include prescription opioids as well as heroin, increased by 200 percent.
Last year, the CDC reported that people who use prescription drugs are 40 times more likely to try heroin.
(This is a press release from Conroy's office)