In 2014, there were over 1,200 non-fatal opioid overdose events in Connecticut. In 2015, the state saw 697 opioid fatalities. The opioid crisis is here. Now, Wilton Youth Council has won a grant from the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services to address it in Wilton.

Ginna Yerrall, LCSW is working with the council to meet the objectives of the grant.

“It seems you can’t watch the news or go online without seeing a news story about this national problem,” says Yerrall, a Wilton resident. “This grant allows us to take concrete steps to address it in our community.”

One important tool for preventing opioid death is the lifesaving drug Naloxone, also known by the brand name Narcan. The medication temporarily reverses the effect of the opioids, allowing time to seek assistance from trained emergency responders.

“If you recognize the symptoms of overdose, it’s easy to administer Narcan spray,” says Genevieve Eason, vice president of Wilton Youth Council. “I was trained to administer Narcan this past October. It’s simple to do, and it’s reassuring to know that if I’m ever in that situation–when minutes really matter–there is something I can do to help before I call 9-1-1.”

A free Narcan training session will be offered on Monday, March 12, at 10 a.m. at the Wilton Library. Participants will learn overdose prevention strategies, the signs and symptoms of overdose, and how to administer Narcan. Good Samaritan laws will also be covered, and additional information and resources will be available. Registration is recommended by visiting the Wilton Library website or calling 203.762.6334.

Another objective of the grant is education for physicians, dentists, veterinarians and pharmacists about the Connecticut Prescription Monitoring and Reporting System (CPMRS).

“The state maintains a database for monitoring controlled substances,” says Yerrall. “One project I’ll be working on with Wilton Youth Council, is educating local prescribers and pharmacists about how to utilize this database.”

According to Eason, “this grant provides us with the opportunity to hire Ginna to deliver prevention efforts that we wouldn’t be able to offer on our own.  She will also be helping us to provide education and information to parents and community leaders on Opioid Use Disorder, overdose prevention, and safe storage and disposal of prescription medications. We’re so pleased to be able to offer all of this to our community.”

For more information on Wilton Youth Council’s Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis, contact Eason via email.