Access to Overdose-Reversal Medication in Waterbury

Residents in the Waterbury region will have easier access to a lifesaving medication used to reverse overdoses, thanks to the American Savings Foundation and Wheeler’s Family Health & Wellness Center community health center in the Brass City.

The Foundation has awarded Wheeler a $2,000 grant to purchase and provide Naloxone (NARCAN®). Used with medication-assisted treatment for addiction (MAT), individual and group therapies, and integrated primary care provided in Waterbury, NARCAN is a vital tool for individuals and families who come to Wheeler for addiction treatment, a key service in the organization’s continuum of care.

The Wheeler Family Health & Wellness Center moved from 100 Jefferson Square to an expanded community health center at 855 Lakewood Road, Waterbury. This facility opened yesterday. Wheeler will match the grant 1:1, providing NARCAN for residents and families who may not otherwise have access. Services are available on a walk-in or scheduled basis, and due to the COVID-19 pandemic, Wheeler now provides and encourages telephonic and telehealth services, even for new patients. NARCAN can be accessed at many local pharmacies, listed at www.drugfreect.org, including the Genoa Healthcare pharmacy on-site at the new Wheeler community health center at 855 Lakewood Road. Approximately two-dozen pharmacies in Waterbury have the medication available, according to the site.

“The Foundation recognizes the importance of addressing opioid abuse and is pleased to fund solutions and strategies through partner agencies such as Wheeler," said Maria Falvo, president & CEO of the American Savings Foundation. “The opioid epidemic impacts of all the communities we serve, and this program will save lives.”

NARCAN offers portable, effective emergency overdose care for patients between treatment sessions. It is easily administered in a nasal spray and quickly reverses the symptoms of overdose, allowing the patient to get to an emergency department. NARCAN has saved tens of thousands of lives since 1996.

The need is pressing, and the services are life-saving. Opioid overdose deaths have doubled in Connecticut since 2012, and the state has the eighth highest rate of opioid overdose deaths in the US. Final data from the Chief Medical Examiner in 2019 revealed that Waterbury had the second-highest number of overdose deaths in the state and a significant increase over previous years, with double the number of residents who died as compared to 2017.

“We know conclusively that access to NARCAN plays a vital role in recovery from substance use disorder,” said Sabrina Trocchi, PhD, MPA, Wheeler’s President and Chief Executive Officer. “At all of our outpatient locations, we are committed to making it available, even at intake, so patients and their families can feel comfortable taking that first step to recovery and knowing that we are partners in their journey. We are so appreciative of the Foundation for their investment in keeping Waterbury safer and healthier.”

AMERICAN SAVINGS FOUNDATION
American Savings Foundation is a permanent charitable endowment which provides grants to local nonprofit organizations, and college scholarships to area students. Since its inception in 1995 the Foundation has contributed over $61 million in total grants and scholarships in central Connecticut. For more information, call 860-827-2556 or visit the Foundation’s website at asfdn.org.

WHEELER
Wheeler provides comprehensive solutions that address complex health issues, providing individuals, families and communities with accessible, innovative care that encourages health, recovery, and growth at all stages of life. Our integrated approach to primary and behavioral health, education and recovery creates measurable results, positive outcomes, and hopeful tomorrows for more than 30,000 individuals across Connecticut each year. Learn more: www.wheelerclinic.org