AIDS Connecticut’s syringe exchange program is the first in the state to start distributing Naloxone to injecting drug users. The medication can be administered to reverse opioid overdoses.
"We have lots of folks who have experienced overdose before, or they may use with other drug users, or have friends or acquaintances who have experienced overdose," said Shawn Lang, AIDS Connecticut’s Deputy Director of Programs and Policy. The other thing [is] we may have people coming out of prison or other treatment programs. That’s a high risk for opiate overdose."
Lang said the program will reduce accidental overdose deaths in the state.
"In Connecticut, from 2009 to 2014, there were over 2,000 accidental and unintentional opiate-involved deaths that happened at 150 of Connecticut's 165 towns and cities," Lang said. "This is one step in the right direction of helping to save those lives."
Naloxone kits are being supplied through the Connecticut Department of Public Health.
AIDS Connecticut’s syringe exchange program operates from a mobile van in Hartford and at a shelter in Willimantic. Syringe exchange programs in New Haven and Bridgeport will be also launching Naloxone distribution programs in the coming weeks.