HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — The opioid epidemic has brought the President’s Drug Czar to Connecticut to meet with leaders of law enforcement, drug counseling and the medical profession. He also announced the expansion of a program started at Yale in New Haven. Drug overdoses have now overcome car accidents as a major cause of death.
All of the state’s emergency rooms has seen an increase of patients coming in with the symptoms; decreased breathing rate and decreased mental status. Dayne Laskey, an assistant professor at the University of St. Joseph School of Pharmacy works in the emergency room at Hartford Hospital and says the road from prescribed pain killers to street drugs is dangerous but easy, “These medications have an inherent addictive potential. The most important thing is to use them as prescribed.”
One of the gravest dangers is also to young children. The biggest driver of children to social service agencies in Connecticut is substance abuse by their parents. “We’re here to talk about innovative solutions to encourage business and the community to invest in evidence based proposals to expand treatment,” said Michael Botticelli, the White House Director of Drug Policy. He announced that a program started by the ‘Yale Child Study’ in New Haven will be expanded to help many more families where a parent has a substance abuse problem.
The ‘Yale Child Study’ program is currently sending a team of two clinicians and one social service counselor to about 250 families, three times a week. The announcement today will mean private funding to expand that program to 500 more Connecticut families with children under age 6.
Gov. Malloy, who appeared with Botticelli at a news conference at the Old State House in Hartford added, “New recovery teams will help us reach new areas including; Waterbury, Danbury, Torrington, Norwich, Middletown and New Haven.”
This will be paid for with private funding with what are called “Social Impact Bonds.” The investor actually gets the money back with interest paid by the state. The state ends up saving money because it reduces the number of children in state care.