11 overdoses in 1 day trigger new alert system in New Haven


NEW HAVEN – After 11 overdoses in one day this week, the city has grown a new alert designed to inform the community of these events.

Mehul Dalal, head of the city’s community services administration, said the system, developed in conjunction with the state, has been in the works internally for some time as the city strives to share more information with community organizations that work with drug users and residents. .

“We want them to be aware and more alert,” Dalal said. “It’s really to educate the public and inform our partners.”

Dalal said Wednesday’s spike in overdose, which included one death, represented a Level III alert, the lowest in the system.

The cause of the outbreak was not immediately known, Dalal said.

The city typically sees fluctuations in overdoses, he said, with no immediately clear determining factor. Further investigation, if necessary, would be needed to determine the specific factors behind the rise, he said.

“It could be a usage pattern issue — people are using more — or people are using more fentanyl,” Dalal said. “We didn’t pin it.”

Dalal noted that there is a Good Samaritan law in Connecticut, allowing people to administer naloxone or another anti-overdose drug.

The law, among other precepts, “permits anyone, if they act with reasonable care, to administer an opioid antagonist to someone who they believe, in good faith, is experiencing a drug overdose related to opioids”. according to the General Assembly of the State.

Dalal also noted the commonality of drug use in New Haven — it’s a “real public health problem,” he said, and potentially a crisis.

In 2021, he said, 121 people died from opioid-related overdoses in New Haven, while 80 died from COVID-19.

Those interested in receiving addiction treatment can call the Department of Mental Health and Human Services at 800-563-4086 or 211. Those not ready to take this step can also call the Never Use Alone hotline at 800-484-3731, where someone will stay on the line during a drug session, helping to expedite help if needed.


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