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Hartford's Opioid Tracking Program Finds Trends In Overdoses

Credit: Charles Williams (Flickr)
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A new opioid tracking program reports an average of 42 overdoses a month in a section of Hartford.

The Hartford Opioid Project, a pilot program started in May, has been tracking overdoses in the northern two-thirds of the capital city in real-time. The information is reported through emergency medical service personnel when they respond to an overdose call.

Peter Canning, coordinator of Emergency Medical Services at UConn Health, presented their key findings Tuesday. He said the project has shed some light on repeat overdoses, possibly dispelling a myth.

“There have been 211 calls — reports of overdoses,” Canning said. “Only four patients overdosed three times during this five-month period. Now, some limitations with that; somebody in our project could have overdosed on the north side of Park Street and then overdosed on the south side of Park Street, and that wouldn’t have been picked up. But still, I think it really puts the stereotype of users just constantly overdosing and overdosing a bit to rest.”

Out of the 211 calls, 147 patients received naloxone, the overdose reversal drug.

Canning said the ages of the patients were also interesting, with one overdose patient under the age of 20. Most patients were between 35 and 54, and predominantly male.

The program is led by the Connecticut Poison Control Center and UConn Health’s Emergency Medicine Department.

Their long-term goal is to cover the entire state and collaborate with other agencies for better tracking.

Lori Connecticut Public's Morning Edition host.
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