Earlier this year, the heroin epidemic in this country was front and center. It's not in the headlines anymore, but that doesn't mean the problem of opioid addiction, fueled by abusing prescription drugs or heroin, has gone away.
Torrington received a lot of attention for the number of overdose deaths there in 2013. Late last year, community stakeholders came together to form the Litchfield County Opiate Task Force. One of the task force's biggest initiatives to combat the problem throughout the entire county was the creation of a community case manager to work at the local hospital.
Living in Hartford almost all my life I've known for years the story of Horace Wells. At least, I know the story I know, which is that Wells was a Hartford dentist who introduced anesthesia. He may have been the first but I've always known there were other pretenders to that crown.
I also knew that Wells became addicted to one of those products and died a horrible, tragic and ignominious death.
But, that's all I knew and I wondered how widely known that story was.
Originally published on Thu September 4, 2014 4:59 pm
CVS Caremark has pulled cigarettes from its shelves a month ahead of schedule.
In February, CVS, one of the nation's largest drugstore chains, said it would stop selling tobacco products by October, despite the profits they brought the company. Now cigarettes in the company's stores are history.
Originally published on Fri August 22, 2014 11:53 am
CVS Caremark will be joining Walgreens in allowing pharmacists to dispense a life-saving antidote for drug overdoses, without a prescription. That means that soon Narcan will be much more widely available throughout the state.
Rhode Island Hospital drug abuse epidemiologist Traci Green has been working with a statewide overdose prevention task force to get Narcan – also known as naloxone—into as many hands as possible. The drug can rescue someone who has overdosed on an opioid like heroin or prescription painkiller OxyContin.
Support courts for defendants with substance abuse issues have existed for over two decades in many states, including Connecticut. They give people an opportunity to seek treatment to avoid the cycle of repeated incarceration. In recent years, federal courts have begun similar programs.
Approved patients will soon be able to obtain medical marijuana…legally. The marijuana producers who were approved by the state earlier this year will start to get their product out to dispensaries later this summer.
We talk with Commissioner William Rubenstein from the Department of Consumer Protection about the state’s medical marijuana program.
A federal crackdown on hospital-acquired infections and injuries is underway. Bridgeport Hospital, Stamford Hospital, Yale-New Haven and Danbury Hospital could all be facing fines. Danbury received the worst ranking in the state according to an analysis by non-profit news service Kaiser Health News. Those performing the poorest on key patient safety measures would lose a percent of every Medicare payment for a year starting in October.
Originally published on Wed June 25, 2014 12:48 pm
Underneath the charm of Martha's Vineyard's picturesque beaches, peaceful woods and luxury homes is a problem: Since August, there have been six overdose deaths on the island.
"That's a phenomenal rate for a community of 16,000 people — and that's not to mention the overdoses that haven't been fatal," says Charles Silberstein, an addiction specialist and psychiatrist at Martha's Vineyard Hospital. "We've had overdoses for years, but I don't think we've ever seen this kind of number or frequency."
Earlier this year, Attorney General Eric Holder issued a rare memo calling on more first responders to carry Narcan, a drug that reverses the effects of opiate overdoses. Connecticut held its first-ever "overdose prevention summit" on Thursday to explore ways to expand Narcan's reach.
The Connecticut Overdose Prevention Summit was held on Thursday in Meriden, bringing together practitioners and policy experts from neighboring New England states, and their Connecticut counterparts, to hear about successful opioid overdose prevention programs.
In 2012, Connecticut repealed the death penalty for crimes committed after the law was changed. That doesn't mean more people won't end up on death row. A man convicted of a 2006 triple murder was sentenced to death last week.
Connecticut officials are urging hospitals and health care providers to curb the overuse of antibiotics. The proliferation of antibiotics has dramatically increased the number of infections resistant to the drug.
In April, the World Health Organization announced that these strains of bacteria can be found in every part of the world, and pose a serious health threat.
Heroin was once the scourge of the urban poor, but today the typical user is a young, white suburbanite, a study finds. And the path to addiction usually starts with prescription painkillers.
A survey of 9,000 patients at treatment centers around the country found that 90 percent of heroin users were white men and women. Most were relatively young — their average age was 23. And three-quarters said they first started not with heroin but with prescription opioids like OxyContin.
Attention deficit hyperactivity disorder isn’t just for fidgety little boys anymore. The number of young adult women taking medications for ADHD jumped by 85 percent between 2008 and 2012, according to a recent report by St. Louis-based Express Scripts, a pharmaceutical benefits company.
At 52 percent supporting legal possession, it's only a slight majority, but a new poll released by Quinnipiac University echoes a nationwide shift in attitudes towards marijuana. The poll also found that 90 percent of Connecticut residents support medical marijuana use.