Forum on the Opioid and Heroin Epidemic

April 11, 2017

Last night I hosted a community forum in Wethersfield on opioid and heroin addiction with Rep. Tony Guerrera and the state Office of the Healthcare Advocate. A panel of health care and public health experts discussed the opioid epidemic and resources to prevent and treat addiction, followed by an audience question and answer period.

There’s not a community in Connecticut that hasn’t felt the tragic consequences of heroin and opioid addiction. This is a difficult and complex issue, and we thought there was a need to bring all of the available information and resources together in one place. I hope that the information presented will help someone get the help they need – whether it’s through being able to recognize the signs of opioid abuse or knowing where to direct someone who needs treatment.

Panelists included:

  • Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, Commissioner of the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS)
  • Pat Rehmer, president of the Behavioral Health Network and senior vice president of Hartford Health Care
  • Shawn Lang, Deputy Director of AIDS Connecticut
  • Ann Hartman, Assistant Director of Community Health at Central Connecticut Health District
  • Terrence Wain, Operations Supervisor at ASM-Aetna Ambulance

In 2016, the General Assembly passed legislation to prevent opioid abuse by capping first-time adult opioid prescriptions and all opioid prescriptions for minors at a seven-day supply. The law also increased access to Narcan, a drug that reverses opioid overdose, by allowing pharmacists to prescribe the medication and requiring municipalities to equip their first responders with Narcan. Click here to view the resource packet handed out at the forum.