Prevention strategies, community resources for individuals dealing with addiction, proposed legislation, and how to obtain and administer NARCAN were among the topics included in NVCC’s Opioid awareness event held at the College’s Center for Health Sciences April 11. Speakers included Dr. Peter Jacoby Chairman of Emergency Medicine at Saint Mary’s Hospital, Waterbury Mayor Neil O’Leary, Waterbury Police Chief Vernon Riddick, and other presenters from the greater Waterbury community.
“Opioid abuse is a serious threat to the future of many young lives, “said NVCC President Daisy Cocco De Filippis, Ph.D. in her opening remarks. “As we contemplate the rich and very important discussions of information that will take place this morning, I thank everyone present here, presenters and attendees for your initiative and sincere desire to teach and to learn about ways to combat this terrible situation and present epidemic: Our young people die every day because of opioid abuse. As Shannon Monnat points out in the article referenced earlier, ‘combating today’s opioid problem, and tomorrow’s new drug problem, involves all of us reflecting on what kind of society we want.’”
Dr. Jacoby gave a talk focused on the complex nature and the various entities involved in creating the crisis that we see today. Mayor Neil O’Leary and Police Chief Riddick discussed the effects of the opioid epidemic in Waterbury and about legislation, community efforts, and resources targeted to help prevent the crisis from accelerating.
The conference, which drew more than 150 attendees, was funded in part from the CT Healthy Campus Initiative: Opioid Education and Awareness Grant with NVCC’s Dr. Sandra Valente, a Professor and Program Coordinator for the College’s Drug and Alcohol Recovery Counselor (DARC) Program serving as the Grant Lead and as a collaborator in the planning with conference organizer Dr. Kathy Murphy, NVCC Professor of Nursing.