New CCM report shows how local officials can best combat drug abuse in their communities

New CCM report shows how local officials can best combat drug abuse in their communities

For Immediate Release

Wednesday, August 10, 2016

Kevin Maloney, (203) 710-3486

The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) today (Wednesday, August 10, 2016), is releasing a new public-policy toolkit for local and state leaders on “How Local Leaders Can Combat Drug Abuse” in their communities.

This new public-policy toolkit shows how municipal leaders can lead the fight locally on an issue that is complex, and the solution not singular; and is one that reaches out from the municipal CEO to first responders and those within our schools, parks and recreation and other local service providers.

Click here for the complete report.

The 25 page “toolkit” report highlights ten steps that every municipality can pursue to better combat drug abuse in their community-- Dedicate time to understand substance abuse and the drug epidemic in your community; Take the lead to increase public awareness and engagement; Designate a municipal point person or contact regarding substance abuse; Encourage community, regional and statewide collaboration; and Develop a one-page fact sheet and resource guide for residents. (See the complete report for the full details on each of these action steps.)

Also, Promote alternative programs - for both teens and adults - aimed at prevention and intervention; Partner with schools on prevention programs and curriculum; Provide first responders with and increase public awareness regarding naloxone; Create safe disposal sites to discard prescription drugs; and Become an advocate towards policy change. The report also includes the most recent 2016 data and the trends since 2012 regarding the most frequent accidental overdoses in Connecticut.

Connecticut overdose deaths back to top

“Connecticut, like the rest of the country, is going through a serious opioid epidemic,” said Rudy Marconi, First Selectman of Ridgefield and Chair of the CCM Drug Abuse Prevention Work Group. “The rate at which Connecticut is seeing overdose deaths is staggering. This is a statewide issue that must be confronted. Local officials have the capacity and obligation to lead their communities through this epidemic by providing practical policies to combat this crisis.”

“Substance abuse and opioid addiction is a public health crisis impacting every community in Connecticut. Local officials — the front line of action — are in the most important position to combat this growing epidemic,” emphasized Ron Thomas, CCM Deputy Director. “Through coalition building, implementation of proven best practices, and engagement of community leaders and stakeholders, municipal leaders can make real difference in addressing the crisis. In doing so, lives will be saved and healthier and safer communities will thrive.”

Since the summer of 2014, CCM engaged its Drug Abuse Prevention Work Group with examining the growing concern of substance abuse in Connecticut. Enhanced intra- and inter- community information sharing, increased public education and awareness, ensuring effective coordination of resources among federal, state and local agencies, law enforcement, education and pursuing policies and additional resources were found to be essential key points that would be needed.

The Work Group involves a wide range of partners, service providers, advocates, experts and organizations to gather the broadest possible perspective on the issue.