Opioid Use in Darien and What To Do About It: Research Presented at Library Forum March 21

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A presentation on just-completed research on opioids in Darien will be part of a discussion forum at 7 p.m., Wednesday, March 21 at Darien Library.

The forum will feature information gathered by an Americorps volunteer who conducted a town needs assessment related to opioid use in town, along with reactions and comments from a town police detective and the town director of health.

Darien police Detective James Palmieri will share the trends law enforcement is observing and David Knauf, town director of health, who will discuss what needs to happen legislatively to slow this epidemic.

Dr. Robert Newman, M.D., MPH, who helped plan and direct some of the largest addiction treatment programs in the world, will also speak.

“For over 45 years, Dr. Newman has played a major role in planning and directing some of the largest addiction treatment programs in the world,” the Community Fund said in an announcement about the upcoming event. “He served as president and CEO of Continuum Health Partners, Inc., a $2.2 billion hospital network in New York City.

“He will present a paradigm-shifting lecture on the science of opioid addiction and effective treatment.”

The event is co-sponsored by Liberation Programs.

Needs Assessment on Opioids in Darien

With opioid-related overdose deaths on the rise in Connecticut, the Community Fund of Darien and the town police and health departments sponsored a needs assessment project on opioids in Darien. It was conducted by Susannah Lewis, MPH, an Americorps volunteer and public health consultant, who will present her findings.

Lewis was brought in to:

  • compile a Community Needs Assessment related to opioid use in town (apparently already done or almost done),
  • coordinate trainings on pain management best-practices for prescribers,
  • organize Narcan training sessions and
  • provide a community forum to inform Darien residents about how this crisis is impacting our community.

“From a law enforcement perspective, we realize that we cannot arrest our way out of the crisis of opioid addiction,” said Police Chief Ray Osborne. “Our goal is to help slow the wave of this epidemic and to work with the community to build partnerships like this so that we, as police officers, are using all the tools that we have to help save lives.

“This crisis has touched so many families in our area and we at the Darien Police Department would like to take this opportunity to work with The Community Fund and the Darien Health Department for the Town of Darien to come up with lasting solutions that promote health and safety.”