WATERBURY, Conn. (WTNH) — The mayor calls it alarming. The opioid crisis has hit Connecticut hard and the City of Waterbury especially hard.
Last year, there were 33 opioid-related deaths in Waterbury, so far this year there are at least 30. And the fire chief says first responders have had to issue the opioid-antidote Narcan in more and more emergency calls.
“We are generally over 200 times a year,” said Fire Chief David Martin. “And again this year, we’re on track to exceed that.”
Local health departments across Connecticut have recently started to hold free Narcan training sessions for community groups and companies and businesses.
Both the Waterbury Health Department and Fire Department have hosted sessions together.
One recent session happened at the St. Vincent DePaul Mission of Waterbury’s homeless shelter.
“We thought the Narcan training was important to ensure that in the event that one of our participants who may or may not struggle with opioids, and if, in the event that there may be an overdose, that we had the ability to make sure that the participant was able to be revived and help reduce the loss of life,” said shelter director, Jered Brusak.
The key is to save lives in those precious minutes before first responders arrive on scene.
“Anytime you can get treatment to a patient earlier than later, certainly that’s a huge advantage,” Chief Martin said.