Thousands of suspected drug overdoses reported since January - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Thousands of suspected drug overdoses reported since January

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(MGN  photo) (MGN photo)

Health officials report that more than 3,000 suspected drug overdoses were recorded during the first four months of 2018.

The state Department of Public Health released preliminary estimates on Tuesday.

It said 3,090 visits for suspected drug overdoses were made to the emergency departments at Connecticut's 27 acute care hospitals.

“While the currently available data are preliminary and should be interpreted with caution, we are working to improve syndromic surveillance capabilities to provide real-time information to better understand the types of opioids, including fentanyl and associated substances, in combination with other emerging drugs, causing or contributing to unintentional overdoses and deaths,” said Dr. Raul Pino, commissioner, Department of Public Health.  “We will be able to use the information that we gather through this system, in coordination with our colleagues in the Chief Medical Examiner’s Office, state agencies, local officials, and community organizations to more effectively and rapidly respond to the opioid crisis.”

According to the data, the state averaged 180 suspected drug overdose visits per week from January to April.

Here are the number of visits broken down by county:

  1. Hartford County - 1,021.
  2. New Haven County - 907.
  3. Fairfield County - 416.
  4. New London County - 178.
  5. Middlesex County - 176.
  6. Tolland County - 150.
  7. Litchfield County - 129
  8. Windham County - 113.

The DPH said it used syndromic surveillance to gather the data. It's meant to help understand diseases and conditions of public health importance.

Limited patient information is collected as part of the surveillance, but not things like a patient's name, address or phone number.

“The real-time nature of the data will allow us to respond more quickly to changes in patterns of nonfatal and fatal opioid overdoses and to design, target, implement and monitor more effective interventions to break the cycle of overdose and death and curtail opioid addiction in Connecticut,” Pino said.

For more information on the state's opioids and prescription drug overdose prevention program, head here.

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