The May issue of Connecticut Medicine, the peer-reviewed scientific journal of the Connecticut State Medical Society (CSMS), “Finding Hope in the Battle Against the Opioid Overdose Crisis,” highlights some of the innovative strategies Connecticut’s medical community is forging to tackle this public health crisis and features dozens of experts from across the state.
Since 2013, the leading cause of death for people under the age of 50 in Connecticut has been opioid overdose. Across the US, the medical community has been identified as a driver of the crisis through overprescribing of opioid analgesics.
While opioids can be effective tools for the treatment of pain and illness, they have the potential to lead to dependence, abuse, addiction, and ultimately, overdose. Lawmakers have passed bills in response to the crisis including measures to create a prescription database, to provide more training for health and public safety officials, and to provide better access to anti-overdose drugs.
“As daunting as the opioid crisis appears, there are many reasons to be hopeful,” notes guest editors and CSMS members, J. Craig Allen, MD, Medical Director of Rushford and Vice President of Addiction Services at Hartford HealthCare’s Behavioral Health Network, and Rocco Orlando, MD, Chief Medical Officer at Hartford HealthCare. They add, “Addiction to opioids is a chronic but treatable brain disease that requires medical intervention. Treatment effectiveness and prevention efforts are similar to those for other chronic diseases and, once in recovery, a robust and active recovery community is available to support and maintain that path.”
According to these experts, “We may be seeing a cresting of the overdose deaths plaguing Connecticut, but the battle will be won through collaboration involving government, community, and the health care systems. In all of this, the medical community must play a pivotal role.”
Connecticut Medicine can be read online at: https://csms.org/publications/connecticut-medicine/