Connecticut’s opioid-related overdose deaths are on the rise. The Community Fund of Darien is proud to announce a partnership between The Community Fund of Darien, the Town of Darien Health Department, and the Darien Police Department to sponsor an Americorps volunteer to research and educate our community about the impact of opioid abuse on the Town of Darien. The collaborative has hired Susannah Lewis, MPH as Darien’s Americorps volunteer and public health consultant to compile a Community Needs Assessment related to opioid use in town, coordinate trainings on pain management best-practices for prescribers, organize Narcan trainings and provide a community forum to inform Darien residents about how this crisis is impacting our community.

The first community forum titled “Darien and the Opioid Crisis” will be held on Tuesday, May 15, at 7 p.m. at the Darien Library. This event is co-sponsored by The Community Fund of Darien, the Darien Police Department, the Darien Health Department and Liberation Programs.

“From a law enforcement perspective, we realize that we cannot arrest our way out of the crisis of opioid addiction.  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,” said Darien Police Chief Ray Osborne.

Susannah Lewis will present the findings from the opioid community needs assessment, Det. James Palmieri of the Darien Police Department will share the trends law enforcement is observing and David Knauf, Director of Health will discuss what needs to happen legislatively to slow this epidemic.

A special keynote address will be presented by Dr. Robert Newman, MD, MPH. 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. He served as president and CEO of Continuum Health Partners, Inc., a 2.2 billion dollar hospital network in New York City. He will present a paradigm-shifting lecture on the science of opioid addiction and effective treatment.