Governor Dannel Malloy recently signed legislation that would expand Connecticut’s effort to combat the opioid epidemic. At the same time, he announced a partnership with a team of doctors from Yale University to help develop a strategic plan.
The team has been tasked with developing a strategy that would reduce both the number of overdoses and the abuse of opioids. It’s led by Dr. David Fiellin.
"The goal is to try to provide some strategic guidance around a number of issues," said Fiellin. "One is increasing access to a range of treatments, in particular, the most effective treatments, which are medications combined with counseling treatments for opiate use disorder."
Also included in the plan is targeting resources to higher risk users, such as those who’ve already survived an overdose, and addressing prescribing practices.
Some of the challenges include funding and education. But as opioid use has become increasingly widespread, it’s also creating problems for some suburban and rural areas that aren’t equipped.
"And one of our goals is try to identify those pockets in areas where there are increased needs and to try to come up with strategies," Fiellin said.
Other New England states like Massachusetts and Rhode Island already have plans in place. In fact, Fiellin said, they’re working with doctors from Brown University and using Rhode Island’s strategy as a template.
The plan will be implemented over the next three years and is set to be presented at the beginning of September.