The City of New Haven Health Department, in collaboration with Waterbury Health Department, proposes to develop and implement overdose prevention, harm reduction, and linkage to and retention in care activities, and create overdose and linkage to care surveillance infrastructures to improve conditions in New Haven County, CT.
New Haven County drug overdose deaths are increasing, with 488 overdose deaths in 2022. While increases are seen across all racial/ethnic groups, recent increases were highest among non-Hispanic Black and Hispanic populations. In addition, New Haven and Waterbury, the County’s two largest cities have been hit particularly hard by the opioid overdose epidemic.
While the program will serve all residents who are using opioids, it focuses on Black and Hispanic residents; persons re-entering the community from incarceration; and persons experiencing homelessness. The City of New Haven is submitting this proposal under Component A (Prevention) and Component C (Surveillance) funding.
The project builds upon a strong foundation of cooperation and partnership across public health, behavioral health, health systems, community organizations, and public safety in order to build an overdose infrastructure and cohesive program with multiple access points and address health inequities in overdose and SUD treatment. Project goals and related outcomes include: 1) decrease or destabilization of fatal overdose rate; 2) decrease or stabilization of non-fatal overdose rates; 3) development of a comprehensive, county-wide community outreach system; 4) improved health equity through increased outreach and linkages to care and support services to address the social determinants of health SDoH; 5) increased adoption of harm reduction strategies across service sectors; 6) increased adoption of stigma reduction across sectors; 7) implementation of an improved region-wide overdose surveillance system; 8) improved coordinated and timely response to novel overdose trends and spikes; 9) development of data-sharing agreements with the state agencies to obtain prescription data; and 10) increased clinician prescribing of naloxone.
Strategies to achieve these goals and outcomes include: 1) linkage and retention to care; 2) harm reduction activities; 3) stigma reduction activities; 4) implementation of clinician and health system best practices; and 5) development and implementation of an overdose surveillance infrastructure which will improve the region’s ability to monitor non-fatal drug overdoses at regional emergency departments and hospitals, leverage the region’s existing Emergency Medical Services data collection system to calculate drug overdose indicators, and communicate surveillance results to key stakeholders at the state and local levels.