CCM reports that towns and cities respond to opioid addiction crisis with wide range of increased services and costs
For immediate release
Kevin Maloney, (203) 710-3486
The Connecticut Conference of Municipalities (CCM) today (Monday, April 1) reported that towns and cities of all sizes across Connecticut have seen the opioid addiction crisis compel them to take on a wide range of increased services and costs to keep pace with the explosion in addiction and overdose-related public-health needs in their communities.
“Municipal officials believe that this crisis shows no signs yet of abating in Connecticut,” said Rudy Marconi, First Selectman of Ridgefield and Chairman of CCM’s Task Force on Substance Abuse Prevention. “This is a bonafide public health crisis across the 169 towns and cities, and local public safety and health personnel are the troops leading the fight.”
In 2018, there were 105 deaths by murder in Connecticut, according to the FBI; while the U.S. Center for Disease Control and Prevention reports that Connecticut is still grappling with an opioid epidemic with 1,130 deaths from overdoses in 2018.
CCM is calling on the Governor and the General Assembly to enhance efforts to combat the State’s opioid epidemic by designating a state ombudsman for opioid abuse and control policy tasked with coordinating efforts to enhance and to examine sustainable funding streams to support substance abuse prevention, education and recovery efforts<image005.png>.
Here are some specific examples of how communities have responded regarding services and costs. Towns presented a range of detail in terms of tracking and capturing service provision and costs:
Bridgeport – Spending an estimated $500,000 in this fiscal year between the Health Department, Fire, and Police for supplies, services and responding staff-time on overdose situations.
New London – Is spending over $180,000 a year on addiction-related programs and services provided by police, fire and medical/health services. The city is responding to about 100 overdose incidences annually.
Shelton – Has spent nearly $200,000 over the last five years and $45,000 in this fiscal year, with spikes in spending for crime-scene processing and patrolling and related overtime costs.
Bristol – Has doubled its expenditure for Narcan; provided more training for police to identify opioid symptoms; deployed a community-based recovery coach; and the Youth and Community Services Department has provided increased services tied to resulting evictions and other family-service needs
Naugatuck – Has spent over $190,000 in this fiscal year on Narcan usages, related police-investigation overtime costs and equipment costs; and more than $900,000 over the last five years in these areas.
Torrington – Opioid-related costs totaled nearly $450,000 over the five year period from 2012 to 2017.
New Britain – The city responds, on average annually, to 185 narcotic opioid overdoses that receive naloxone; EMS incurs related costs of an estimated $90,000 annually and about $450,000 over the past five years. Education and prevention programming costs $10,000 annually and opioid-related insurance costs run close to $60,000 annually.
East Hartford – The City incurs, for opioid-related fire and police personnel costs and Narcan costs, nearly $40,000 annually; that is almost $160,000 over the last five years.
North Haven – Has spent over $190,000 annually on opioid-addiction service related to counseling, training and Narcan supplies.
Cromwell – Increased spending for purchasing Narcan; organizing, executing public-education programs with the high school, and funding for a local substance-abuse action council.
East Haven – Increased costs for overtime and personnel costs for investigations; cost of protective equipment to handle drug evidence; and EMS expenditures for Narcan.
Berlin – Increased spending for opioid-death investigations, naloxone kits, and training for officers.
Vernon – Has spent about $8,000 on purchasing medication, training and needed equipment and supplies.
Westbrook – Spent nearly $10,000 over the last several years through its Family and Youth Services programs to address this addiction issue.
Wilton – Spent over $6,000 in the last several years for increased activities related to the purchase of Narcan, training of public-safety officers and community-education efforts.
Woodbury – Spikes in spending for hours spent investigating opioid-related burglaries and larcenies; Naloxone purchases; and training for all first responders.
Fairfield – Has spent over $17,000 this fiscal year and over $50,000 in the last five years on Narcan, counseling and other education programs; and during the past five years the Health Department has spent an estimated 450-500 hours on work related to the opioid crisis. including oversight of its Prevention Corps staff, data collection, Narcan training, opioid awareness forums, and other meetings.
Southington -- Over the last five years, the town has spent over $7,000 on Narcan; more than $37,000 on police response actions to overdoses and over $7,000 on drug prevention and education programs.
Seriousness of epidemic back to top
“CCM understands the seriousness of the opioid epidemic,” said Joe DeLong, CCM Executive Director. “And CCM fully supports efforts to provide essential services to individuals suffering from the adverse effects of opioid abuse. Accordingly, CCM has supported and advocated for various proposals in previous legislative sessions to address this issue. CCM has also undertaken initiatives to help better equip local municipal officials with the information and tools necessary to combat opioid abuse.”
The human cost of the opioid crisis in Connecticut has already been documented in chilling detail. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, in 2016 there were 24.5 opioid overdose deaths for every 100,000 persons in the state. This statistic placed Connecticut among the top ten states for opioid overdose death rates — a tragic and unwanted distinction. The Centers for Disease Control estimate that Connecticut witnessed 1,072 opioid overdose deaths in 2017 alone.
As those who work on the front lines, municipal officials know only too well, the tragic overdose death statistics are only the visible tip of the iceberg in the opioid crisis. As the first lines of defense in this crisis, Connecticut towns and cities supply the first responders, the police, the medics, social workers and educators who serve and protect the public daily. Furthermore, the quality of life in our communities has been severely compromised by the impact of the epidemic on our schools, parks, libraries, and public spaces. Every year, critical local tax dollars go towards containing, abating, and desperately attempting to reverse the epidemic. These costs, direct and indirect, are borne uniquely by the communities.