NEW BRITAIN - â€śWeâ€™ve entered a new chapter in the epidemic and itâ€™s all about fentanyl,â€ť said Community Mental Health Affiliateâ€™s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Charles Atkins during an opioid awareness workshop Monday afternoon at the library.
In attendance was Mayor Erin Stewart along with several area service providers including the Greater Hartford Harm Reduction Coalition, Community Mental Health Affiliates, the New Britain Public Health Department, Wheeler Health & Wellness Center and New Britain Emergency Medical Services.
â€śWhatâ€™s happening in New Britain is weâ€™re mirroring whatâ€™s happening in the rest of the country,â€ť said Atkins, who is also the author of several books including â€śOpioid Use Disorder, A Holistic Guide to Assessment, Treatment & Recovery.â€ť He spoke about some of his research and findings.
He stated that it only takes 2 milligrams of fentanyl to deliver a fatal overdose. He compared the dosage size to smaller than the numbers on a penny. According to Atkins, this would cost about $5 on the streets of New Britain.
He went on to say that fentanyl is largely entering this country from China through the U.S. Postal Service. He also expressed concern in an uptick of cocaine use and marijuana laced with fentanyl.
He shared a story about a young man in New Hampshire who was not addicted to opioids, however he received a lethal dose of it after smoking marijuana he purchased on the streets.
EMS Captain Patrick Ciardullo also shared his wisdom during Mondayâ€™s workshop. He stated heâ€™s administered Narcan to many individuals in his 17 years working on the streets of New Britain.
â€śThe distribution of Narcan is a great thing, but there are many more steps that we need to take that involves much more support in the mental health field and I think that is such a big piece of it.â€ť Ciardullo went on to discuss ways to recognize an overdose and administer Narcan.
Stewart launched the Opioid Task Force in January with the goal of reducing opioid and heroin related deaths in the city by 50% within three years.
â€śWe are very fortunate to have the amount of resources available that we do for our community, and itâ€™s our job to help educate our community about how to access them,â€ť she said.
Michelle France can be reached at 860-801-5087 or firstname.lastname@example.org.