In the United States in 2021, the number of unintentional and undetermined intent overdose deaths involving opioids (including prescription opioids and illegal opioids like heroin and illicitly manufactured fentanyl) was more than 10 times higher than in 1999. Consistent with this trend, Connecticut (CT) experienced a significant rise in unintentional drug overdose deaths between 2012 and 2022. According to the data from the CT Office of the Chief Medical Examiner, the number of individuals that died from unintentional drug overdoses has grown from 357 in 2012 to 1,452 in 2022. Overall, CT ranked 14th in the nation in 2021 for age-adjusted unintentional and undetermined intent drug overdose death rates, and mortality rates have exceeded the national rate for the past nine years. Connecticut Department of Public Health (CTDPH) seeks to enter into Cooperative Agreement with the CDC National Center for Injury Prevention and Control through Notice of Funding Opportunity CDC-RFA-CE-23-0002, “Overdose Data to Action in States” to continue progress made in its Opioid and Prescription Drug Overdose Prevention Program, building on the work and expertise established utilizing prior CDC funding over the last seven years. Additionally, CTDPH is seeking funding through the optional and competitive surveillance strategy: Biosurveillance, Strategy 4. During the proposed funding period and thereafter, CTDPH will ensure the two components of the award: surveillance and prevention, are linked and implemented as part of a system by using high quality, complete, and timelier data on overdoses to inform prevention and response efforts through a health equity lens focused on closing gaps among disproportionately affected groups.
The anticipated short, intermediate and long term outcomes of this project include: a) decrease fatal and nonfatal drug overdoses overall; b) decrease illicit opioid and stimulant use, including co-use with other substances, opioid use disorder (OUD) and stimulant use disorder (StUD), increased uptake of evidence-based treatment and retention with long-term recovery support, with a primary focus on OUD and StUD; c) improve health equity among groups disproportionately affected by the overdose epidemic and those previously underserved by overdose prevention programs and the healthcare system, and d) decrease stigma related to substance use disorder. CTDPH will work closely with its partners to carry out the surveillance and prevention component strategies and activities necessary to achieve the project outcomes.