State to provide opioid overdose-reversal drug to hospital emergency rooms

March 13, 2019

For the next two years, the state will be providing Connecticut hospitals with the opioid overdose-reversal drug naloxone to be distributed to at-risk patients and their loved ones upon discharge from emergency rooms.

The Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, or DMHAS, has ordered 6,000 doses of naloxone and will be delivering the drug, which also is known under the brand name Narcan, to hospital emergency departments throughout the state, according to a news release issued Wednesday.

DMHAS has allocated approximately $400,000 in federal funds for naloxone from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration through the State Opioid Response Grant.

Recipients of naloxone will be provided information on how to recognize an opioid overdose, how to administer the medication and how to proceed if the person regains consciousness.

“Naloxone has saved countless lives not only in our state, but across the country,” DMHAS Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon said in a prepared statement. “Getting this life-saving medication into the hands of those most at risk for an opioid overdose is crucial to not only reducing the number of fatal overdoses, but giving individuals another chance so they may begin treatment for opioid use disorder and start their path of recovery.”

“We know there’s no one solution to the opioid crisis, and naloxone is just one part of the bigger picture,” state Department of Consumer Protection Commissioner Michelle H. Seagull said in a prepared statement. “Emergency departments are places where patients may be in critical need of naloxone. It can save patient lives, and ensure that patients are able to enter treatment programs. We’re proud of the work we’ve done with our partners and sister agencies to make this possible.”

In Connecticut, legislation was passed in 2015 allowing pharmacists who have been certified to prescribe and dispense naloxone directly to customers requesting it. Since 2015, thousands of pharmacists at hundreds of pharmacies in Connecticut have been certified to prescribe and dispense naloxone. To find a participating pharmacy, go to bit.ly/CTnaloxone and click on “Naloxone Map.”

Individuals and their loved ones interested in help for addiction can call the DMHAS ACCESS Line at 1 (800) 563-4086 to be connected to addiction services and treatment. For more information about opioid use disorder, visit the DMHAS website at bit.ly/CTopioids.