Description of original award (Fiscal Year 2021, $5,999,998)
Connecticut has suffered disproportionately from the impacts of opioids and addiction. The state has the sixth highest unintentional overdose death rate per capita, and is among a small, lamentable cohort of thirteen states who saw a statistically significant increase in their drug overdose death rate over the last year. Swift, comprehensive action from multidisciplinary partners is urgently needed to combat the rising number of overdoses. The Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS) proposes to pilot a multilateral, technologically sophisticated, community-based opioid overdose response effort, termed the Community and Law Enforcement for Addiction Recovery (CLEAR) Project, in six jurisdictions across the state. The CLEAR Project will establish and enhance partnerships between community agencies and law enforcement to increase connections to care for people with a substance use disorder (SUD) and create a cohesive, collaborative response to addiction among community partners. For each jurisdiction the CLEAR Project will include thorough assessment, planning and evaluation phases of work; the implementation of IPIS/Cordata Integrated System for data tracking and referral management; a coordinated safety net of Recovery Coaches and Overdose Response Teams to connect with and support individuals not connecting with care through other channels; support and direction to families, including the identification and referral of children impacted by a family member’s SUD to services; increased access to Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT); and a community-based, technology and data driven dispatch response to surges in overdoses called Beacon. Our goal is to create a replicable model for overdose response that can be scaled in communities across the entire state, no matter the size or demographic. DMHAS selected 6 sites which represent urban, rural, and suburban demographics. Sites were selected based on several factors: need (as evidenced by overdose rates per capita), diversity in the population, and readiness to implement the program. The selected sites will each have a law enforcement partner: Bridgeport Police Department; Greenwich Police Department; Norwalk Police Department; Torrington Police Department; Winsted Police Department; and State Police Troop B and L. Two of the selected jurisdictions are considered high poverty areas. Bridgeport, the largest city in Connecticut, has a poverty level of 20.8% and Winsted, a gateway community to the rural northwest, which has a poverty level of 23.5%. The CLEAR Project will reduce barriers to treatment for individuals at risk of overdose by providing connections to care, peer support, family engagement, and creating partnerships between providers, law enforcement, and the community.