Yale experts deliver state strategic plan to battle opioid epidemic
On Oct. 6, Yale's Schools of Medicine and of Public Health hosted a press conference convened by Connecticut Governor Dannel P. Malloy to receive the state’s final report and strategic plan on fighting the opioid epidemic. Earlier this summer Malloy commissioned an effort, in partnership with Yale experts and key stakeholders, to develop a three-year strategy on behalf of the State of Connecticut to help further prevent addiction and overdoses from opioid misuse.
The Governor engaged the Connecticut Opioid REsponse (CORE) team — led by Dr. David Fiellin from the Yale School of Medicine, (YSM) and including Dr. Robert Heimer, of Yale School of Public Health, and YSM’s Dr. William Becker, and Dr. Gail D’Onofrio — to supplement and support the work of the Alcohol and Drug Policy Council (ADPC) by creating a focused plan to more rapidly reduce the number of opioid deaths in Connecticut. The Yale team and ADPC were asked to develop strategies that emphasize initiatives to prevent and treat addiction based on evidence, public input, and judgment about where efforts can have the most immediate impact.
“Connecticut is taking action on this nationwide epidemic, and these important plans presented to us today will expand our toolbox and guide the fight against the epidemic of opioid addiction and overdose,” Malloy said. “Addiction is a disease, and together we can treat and prevent it. Our work on this is not finished until our communities and our families are no longer struggling with the grave costs of this illness. Thank you to all of our partners, including the Yale School of Medicine and our private insurance carriers, who have chosen to be leaders on this issue and come together as a community to help combat this crisis.”
“I thank Dr. Fiellin and his team for their work on this report,” Lt. Governor Nancy Wyman said. “Having a deeper understanding of addiction and prevention is key to combatting opioid misuse, and it’s part of a bigger strategy to ensure our residents can live healthier, more productive lives. These recommendations will drive important discussions and help save lives.”
The recommendations presented to the Governor in the Connecticut Opioid REsponse (CORE) Initiative, include increasing access to high-quality medication-based treatment; focusing efforts on those at greatest risk for overdose death, and increasing adherence to opioid prescribing guidelines; among others.
“The CORE Initiative will help state stakeholders focus their efforts on strategies that are expected to have the largest and most immediate impact on the opioid epidemic,” Fiellin said. “This involves rapid dissemination and implementation efforts to dramatically increase the use of proven life-saving strategies that are advocated by entities including the White House, the Surgeon General and the World Health Organization.”
Heimer said, “At the Governor’s behest, we developed a plan to curtail the misuse of opioids and reduce the number of opioid overdose deaths. We have identified broad strategies and specific tactics that are based on an understanding of the science of addiction and evidence of their practical utility. We also have included metrics that will allow us to determine those elements of our plan that are effective and those that will need to be improved.”
D’Onofrio noted, “The Emergency Department offers a great opportunity to initiate treatment for opioid addiction and assist in access to ongoing opioid treatment.”
Additional partners include the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services, Department of Children and Families, and Department of Public Health, and Connecticut’s health insurance carriers.