NHR: Spike in New Haven overdose deaths prompts expanded harm reduction efforts

by | Feb 10, 2023 | Drop-in Center, Overdose Prevention & Harm Reduction

The New Haven Register reported yesterday on the recent spike in opioid overdose deaths in New Haven:

Officials earlier this week reported that 12 people had fatally overdosed since Jan. 25 — a threefold increase in the number of weekly overdose deaths, which is typically is two. A mixture of crack cocaine and fentanyl was suspected to be the cause of the overdoses, officials said.

According to New Haven Health Director Maritza Bond, the lethal combination of the two drugs has started circulating more frequently throughout the community, resulting in the increase of fatal overdoses over the same two-week period last year. Bond stressed that city health officials remained committed to responding to the crisis with existing services while identifying new ways to expand their outreach to those in need.  [Read on here.]

DESK has been providing overdose prevention and harm reduction services since 2018, when we began training staff to administer naloxone to reverse overdoses and installed syringe disposal boxes in our bathrooms, both as part of a partnership with New Haven County Outreach and CT Harm Reduction Alliance.  The ongoing trainings, which we’ve also brought to local businesses, have enabled our staff to save nearly a dozen lives in the past few years, both on- and off-site.

Make no mistake, New Haven: We are in the midst of an opioid epidemic and public health crisis that can only be addressed through these sorts of compassionate and progressive approaches that treat people who use drugs as just that: people.  We are proud to partner with the New Haven Health Department, the Community Health Care Van, Cornell Scott Hill Health Center, SWAN, and others to do the critical work on the ground; we’re grateful to have such an incredible community of caring providers in our city!

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