Senator Murphy and Bristol Mayor Ellen Zoppo-Sassu were joined by several medical and addiction experts in the council chambers of city hall.
The city recently received a $150,000 state grant to help residents who are struggling with addiction. One thing it did was print some brochures.
“This one that says ‘You have survived an opioid overdose’ is with our police department,” Zoppo-Sassu explained, holding up a copy. “When they respond to calls, this comes out of their med bags and is left at the home or with a loved one.”
Over at Bristol Hospital, addicts brought in caught with drugs have a choice.
“They’re going to be given the option to either go to jail or come to the hospital for recovery,” explained emergency room physician Dr. Andrew Lim of Bristol Hospital. “Of course, that’s to the discretion of the officer, but really that allows us to capture a patient who needs help in that moment.”
While communities like Bristol are trying to fight the crisis and prevent overdoses on the very local level, Murphy says he is part of an effort in Washington try to track the problem at the national level, and try to stop it at its root – the doctor’s office.
“And that is really where we are failing – addressing up front the ways in which we can manage people’s pain such that they never ever take a pain pill,” Murphy said. “We’re still seeing 80% of the people who end up in overdose starting out on prescription pain medication.”
Another thing Bristol has done with that state grant is to go around and talk to people affected by the opioid crisis, recording their interviews, and those will be released later this month as public service announcements
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