Misuse of prescription medications and other opioid drugs have increased significantly over the years leading Surgeon General Jerome Adams to declare the opioid epidemic a national public health emergency in October of 2017. Opioid overdose is an ongoing concern as opioids, when taken in excess, decrease your ability to breath resulting in death if not quickly and properly addressed. Currently, unintentional poisoning from prescription and illicit opioids is the leading cause of death from injuries in CT (CTDPH, 2019). The epidemic continues to become more complex with emerging novel substances such as fentanyl, carfentanil and xylazine altering the standard drug supply. Fentanyl, a synthetic opioid 50-100 times more potent than morphine, is a major driver of recent opioid overdose deaths and continues to be mixed into various drug supplies including heroin, cocaine and methamphetamine.
According to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner (OCME, 2020) 357 CT Residents lost their life due to a drug overdose in 2012, a number that has almost quadrupled in the last 8 years. Based on preliminary data provided by the Department of Public Health (2021), the opioid crisis claimed the lives of 1,360 residents in 2020; some cases are still pending investigation.
CT residents are more likely to die from an unintentional drug overdose than a motor vehicle accident (CTDPH, 2019).