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Connecticut lawmakers explore funding supervised opioid injection sites to curb overdoses

A person injects a needle into their arm.
Carlos Giusti
A person injects a needle into their arm.

Connecticut lawmakers are considering how to spend some of the state’s opioid settlement money. They are looking at funding supervised injection sites to help curb overdoses.

A supervised safe space for individuals to consume narcotics saves lives and money, Sam Rivera, the executive director of OnPoint NYC, said at an informational meeting of the state legislature’s public health committee.

He said about 380 overdoses have been prevented at the multiple supervised injection sites in New York City run by his private organization.

And an ambulance had been called only five times, “Those five times it had nothing to do with the overdose. It had to do with other mitigating factors, other health conditions the staff was concerned about,” he said

OnPoint NYC also provides users with other services at the sites, “We’ve had people in the booth who are using say, 'no more, I want to go detox right now.' The team reacts right away,” Rivera said.

Connecticut now has the money to implement similar programs, said state Representative Jonathan Steinberg, co-chair of the committee. “There is conceivably more funding on the table than we’ve had in the past,” he said.

The committee would decide next year how to spend some of the $300 million that Connecticut is getting from the $26 billion national opioid settlement over the next 18 years.

Copyright 2022 WSHU. To see more, visit WSHU.

As WSHU Public Radio’s award-winning senior political reporter, Ebong Udoma draws on his extensive tenure to delve deep into state politics during a major election year. In addition to providing long-form reports and features for WSHU, he regularly contributes spot news to NPR, and has worked at the NPR National News Desk as part of NPR’s diversity initiative.
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