Grant money allows all hospital ER in CT to distribute Narcan to patients

March 13, 2019

A federal grant is allowing all hospital emergency departments in the state to have the opioid overdose-reversing medication naloxone — better known by its brand name, Narcan — available for distribution to patients and loved ones.

“Naloxone has saved countless lives not only in our state, but across the country,” said Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, commissioner of the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services in an email. “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

The naloxone, funded by the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services through federal funds from the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration is provided to the hospital emergency departments at no cost. The medication obtained through this effort is meant to be given patients and their family members or friends upon discharge, not for administration in the hospital. The medication may also be offered to individuals who may be at risk for an opioid overdose, even if that is not what sent them to the emergency room in the first place.

In addition to the naloxone, those receiving the medication will also be given information on recognizing an opioid overdose, how to use the medication in the event of an overdose, and how to proceed if the person regains consciousness.

The state Department of Mental Health and Addication has allocated approximately $400,000 in federal funding over the next two years to supply the hospitals with naloxone. Nearly 6,000 doses have been ordered and are being delivered to emergency departments throughout the state.

In Connecticut, legislation was passed in 2015 allowing pharmacists who have been certified to prescribe and dispense naloxone directly to customers requesting it. To find a participating pharmacy visit www.ct.gov/dcp/naloxone and click on “Naloxone Map”.

Individuals and their loved ones interested in help for addiction can call 800-563-4086 to be connected to addiction services and treatment.