AAOA, Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut Host Discussion on the Opioid Crisis

Local Organizations Provide Insights for the Workplace and Community Resources

NORWICH, Conn., March 23, 2018 — Allied Against Opioid Abuse (AAOA) and the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut gathered local business leaders and community members today in Norwich to share their frontline experiences addressing the opioid abuse crisis and to identify potential areas for collaboration. The event featured speakers from several local organizations and fostered a discussion around preventing prescription opioid misuse and abuse in the workplace, connecting local business leaders with community resources in the region.

AAOA is bringing together national, state and local partners to raise awareness about methods for proper use, storage and disposal of prescription opioids. AAOA and the Chamber partnered with the Southeastern Council on Alcohol and Drug Dependence (SCADD), Community Speaks Out and the Health Improvement Collaborative of Southeastern Connecticut to facilitate a thoughtful discussion among members of the Norwich business community, sharing best practices and connecting attendees to the resources available to help local businesses combat prescription opioid abuse.

“It is a hard topic to have to address with employees and not one that most small businesses know how to approach,” said Tony Sheridan, President and CEO of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut. “Businesses are having a hard time with it. We are very grateful to have resources like SCADD, Community Speaks Out and the Opioid Action Team of the Health Improvement Collaborative of Southeastern Connecticut here in our area to be able to call on for guidance. And now to know that we have another new ally in Allied Against Opioid Abuse. I believe our membership and staff have and will continue to benefit from the information shared today.”

According to a recent national survey, conducted by Morning Consult and commissioned by AAOA, an estimated one-third of consumers say they do not know how to safely dispose of opioids. Throughout the event, AAOA and local partners helped outline steps that business leaders can take to educate employees on ways to prevent the misuse of prescription opioids, such as safely storing and disposing of these medications.

“It is encouraging to see organizations like Allied Against Opioid Abuse reaching out into communities and partnering with existing programs,” said Jennifer Muggeo of the Opioid Action Team of the Health Improvement Collaborative of Southeastern Connecticut, a coalition of healthcare providers, local public health workers and other key stakeholders serving the region. “Opioid use disorder is a complex chronic disease that requires the coordination of community resources. The New London CARES Project aims to bring resources such as help finding safe housing, stable employment and transportation together in a low barrier, coordinated way.”

“Connecticut is facing a significant challenge as communities across the state work to combat opioid misuse and abuse,” said Tammy de la Cruz, Founder and President of Community Speaks Out, a local organization committed to raising awareness of the risks of substance abuse in Eastern Connecticut. “However, as a community, with collaborative partners such as those here today, and the new efforts by Allied Against Opioid Abuse, we are hopeful for the future.”

AAOA has also created a full suite of educational tools to help inform the public and raise awareness of steps everyone can take to help prevent opioid misuse and abuse, available at www.AgainstOpioidAbuse.org/Act.

“Reversing the trend of opioid abuse and misuse requires system-wide collaboration,” said John Parker, Senior Vice President of Communications for the Healthcare Distribution Alliance, AAOA’s founding partner. “We are encouraged by the dedication of organizations like Community Speaks Out, SCADD and the Health Improvement Collaborative of Southeastern Connecticut that are working collaboratively to stem the tide of the opioid crisis. AAOA is committed to working with state and local partners, like the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut, to make sure patients, families, consumers and business leaders have the information they need to stop abuse and misuse before it occurs.”

For all press inquiries, please contact Press@AgainstOpioidAbuse.org.

Members of the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut gather for a discussion on the opioid crisis in Norwich, Conn.

John Parker, Senior Vice President of the Healthcare Distribution Alliance, the founding member of Allied Against Opioid Abuse, delivers opening remarks at a discussion with Eastern Connecticut business leaders.

Panelists gather at a discussion on the opioid abuse epidemic presented by the Chamber of Commerce of Eastern Connecticut and Allied Against Opioid Abuse in Norwich, Conn.

About Allied Against Opioid Abuse
Allied Against Opioid Abuse is a national education and awareness initiative to help prevent abuse and misuse of prescription opioids. Founded by the Healthcare Distribution Alliance, the initiative is a collaborative effort with diverse partners across the pharmaceutical supply chain, as well as organizations that are experts in public health and healthcare, including Alliance for Aging Research, American Physical Therapy Association, Caregiver Action Network, Healthcare Leadership Council, Mental Health America, National Alliance of State Pharmacy Associations, National Community Pharmacists Association, National Council on Patient Information and Education and the PA Foundation. Our goal is to contribute to solving the opioid crisis in a meaningful way by educating patients about their rights, risks and responsibilities. To learn more, visit www.AgainstOpioidAbuse.org or follow us on Twitter: @AAOA_Tweets.