CT's Crisis

The opioid crisis is affecting communities in Connecticut and across the country. Together, we can support those struggling with addiction and their families by understanding the disease, reducing stigma, and more.

Each year, too many lives are lost to opioid overdose.

This crisis reaches every community, every neighborhood, across all ethnicities and income levels. Only by pulling together and joining efforts—organizations, agencies, and individuals—can we overcome Connecticut's opioid crisis. You can help.

Millions of opioids are prescribed to Americans every year. There were more than 191 million opioid prescriptions in 2017 alone! As many as 1 in 4 patients receiving long-term opioid therapy from a doctor's office struggle with opioid addiction. The problem is that opioids are highly addictive and are generally prescribed for a long period of time. When people are no longer able to obtain these medications by prescription, they are forced to find drugs elsewhere. Some people switch to street drugs like heroin and fentanyl, which are less expensive and more available than prescription opioids. However, street drugs are unregulated and much more dangerous.1

Marketing campaigns from pharmaceutical companies that produced opioids in the 1990's suggested that these prescription medications were not addictive. Consequently, the drugs were prescribed for a wide range of medical purposes. Americans have now learned that prescription opioids can be addictive and deadly. Every day, about 130 people in the United States die from an opioid-related overdose2. The following facts show how harmful opioids are to our country as a whole:

  • In 2016 and 2017, the United States Department of Health and Human Services estimated that 130 people died every day from opioid-related drug overdoses.3
  • The CDC estimated that about 72,000 Americans died from drug overdoses in 2017; this death toll is higher than national deaths by HIV, car crashes, or gun deaths.4
  • Between 2016 and 2017, the CDC measured an increase in overdose deaths by over 10%.5
  • The National Institute of Drug Abuse estimated that roughly 21 to 29 percent of patients who were prescribed opioids for chronic pain misuse them; 8 to 12 percent of this group develop an opioid use disorder.6

Source 1: Prescription Opioids (2020)
Source 2: Wide-ranging online data for epidemiologic research (WONDER). Atlanta, GA: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics (2017)
Source 3: Wide-ranging online data for epidemiologic research (WONDER). Atlanta, GA: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics (2017)
Source 4: Ahmad FB, Escobedo LA, Rossen LM, Spencer MR, Warner M, Sutton P. Provisional drug overdose death counts. National Center for Health Statistics. (2020)
Source 5: Hedegaard H, Miniño AM, Warner M. Drug overdose deaths in the United States, 1999–2017. NCHS Data Brief, no 329. Hyattsville, MD: National Center for Health Statistics. (2018)
Source 6: Prescription Opioids (2020)

Lauren Siembab, MS, LADC
Opioid Services Coordinator and SOTA
Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services

Nancy Navarretta, MA, LPC, NCC
Deputy Commissioner
Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services

Connecticut is among the top 10 states with the highest rate of opioid-related overdose deaths in the United States.1

In 2018, out of 1,017 total drug-related deaths in Connecticut:2

  • 948 involved any opioid
  • 670 involved fentanyl (That's a 4685% increase from 14 fentanyl-related deaths in 2012)
  • 391 involved heroin

The increased misuse of opioids in Connecticut has turned it into a major public health concern. OUD has risen so much that residents of Connecticut are now more likely to die from unintentional drug overdose than they are from a motor vehicle accident!3

Connecticut has developed a response and is working diligently across the state to support individuals, families, and communities.

Source 1: Opioid Summaries by State (2020)
Source 2: Wide-ranging online data for epidemiologic research (WONDER). Atlanta, GA: CDC, National Center for Health Statistics (2018)
Source 3: Why Connecticut's drug overdose crisis isn't slowing down (2020)

In an effort to create a recovery-friendly state, community partners are joining the Live LOUD campaign by becoming a partner with Connecticut's Response to OUD (CROUD). DMHAS and organizations across the state are working to provide support, treatment, care, and awareness for those who have OUD and those who know or love someone with OUD.

Drug overdose is now the leading cause of death of Americans under 50 years old. Addiction affects our children, families, friends, and communities. One way to help change how this crisis is impacting our state is to ask your legislators to support Opioid Use Disorder programs, treatment, and funding. If you feel comfortable doing so, it may even be beneficial to share you and/or your loved ones stories of OUD.

Step 1:

Find your elected officials' contact information:
US Congressperson   |   US Senator   |   Local Legislator

Step 2:

Reach out via phone or email.

Step 3:

Let your elected official know why our opioid crisis needs to be fixed. Please feel free to add your own personal stories in the message to make a greater impact. The more people who share their stories, the more likely we are to make a change.