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Background and Overview:

The misuse and abuse of prescription medication and opioid-based drugs has increased significantly over the years to become a public health concern in Connecticut. This misuse or abuse includes taking these medications in higher doses than prescribed, for a purpose other than that for which it was prescribed, or taking a medication that was prescribed for another person or obtained off the streets. Opioid overdose is often characterized by a decrease in breathing rate which if not quickly addressed leads to death.

In Connecticut, residents are more likely to die from unintentional drug overdose than a motor vehicle accident
Majority of these deaths are linked to overdose of prescription opioid painkillers
According to 2013 CDC report, the Connecticut age-adjusted rate for drug induced mortality is 16.4 per 100,000 population compared to the nation rate of 14.6.
Common Risk Factors for Opioid Overdose:

Mixing opioids with other drugs, particularly alcohol or sedatives
Resumption of use after a period of abstinence from opioid use, such as recent release from a rehabilitation center or from incarceration
Elderly persons  may forget that they already took their medication and accidentally re-take the same medication
Younger age, specifically the teens or early 20s exposed to peer pressure or a social environment where there is drug use
Signs of an opioid overdose:

Face is extremely pale and/or clammy to the touch
Body is limp
Fingernails or lips have a blue or purple cast
Vomiting or making gurgling noises
Cannot be awakened from sleep or is unable to speak
Breathing is very slow or stopped
Heartbeat is very slow or stopped
What should I do if I see an overdose?

Call 911 immediately!
Support the person’s breathing
Administer naloxone (Narcan) if you have it
Lay the person on their side once they have resumed breathing
Stay with the overdosed person until the ambulance arrives
Connecticut Prescription Drug Abuse Prevention Workgroup:

The increased national and state attention to the effects of prescription drug overdose in our communities, medical costs and the economy led to various activities in 2014. As a team, Connecticut participated in two notable functions:

Prescription Drug Abuse Policy Academy, Bethesda Maryland sponsored by SAMHSA
Northeast Governors’ Opioid Task Force Meeting, Waltham, Massachusetts
To keep the momentum and foster collaboration among the stakeholders, the DPH organized a workshop in the fall of 2014 to streamline and build on the action plans developed in Maryland and Massachusetts meetings. The workshop focused on primary prevention by addressing these two objectives (1) implementation of action steps to increase prescribers’ engagement in preventing prescription drug abuse; (2) launching a multi-level public awareness and prevention campaign across communities in Connecticut.

This is a CDC program that helps states combat the ongoing prescription drug overdose epidemic. The purpose of Prevention for States is to provide state health departments with resources and support needed to advance interventions for preventing prescription drug overdoses. In March 2016, CT joined 13 other states to receive this funding making it a total of 29 states throughout the United States.



Using Naloxone to Reverse an Opioid Overdose:


Opiod Family Stories


For further information please visit the Department of Mental health and Addiction Services Website


For more information, please call

The Office of Injury Prevention 

(860) 509-8251