Connecticut SWORD

In Hartford, EMS personnel call the Connecticut Poison Control Center (CPCC) after each opioid overdose they encounter, and answer a series of questions.

The specialists (CPCC) log the data and also input in into federal OD map software which produces a near real time map reporting overdose locations and types, and can automatically send spike alerts to local officials when certain county wide thresholds are reached.

This map which records ODs down to the block level can be accessed by local public health departments in Connecticut.

Additionally, data collected by the CPCC specialists can generate other alerts based on identification of bad batches or unusual events such as cocaine contaminated with fentanyl.

Specialists also follow up with the hospital for transported patients to record their outcomes.

The project began as a pilot in Hartford last May, and now after a year of data gathering and data sharing with the public health and safety community, has been expanded. On April 1, the North Central Region began reporting with the rest of the state set to join in on June 1.

For the first time Connecticut is able to track non-fatal overdoses, gather valuable demographic data and trends and provide near real time alerts.

The program now called SWORD (Connecticut Statewide Opioid Reporting Directive) is funded by the State Department of Public Health (using federal grant money), and the Office of Emergency Medical Services who issued the reporting directive in accordance with a new state law mandating opioid overdose reporting.

EMS calls to poison control are HIPPA protected under a federal waiver. The CPCC can only share deidentified information with state and federal health agencies.

Here is a video on the program put together by UConn Health, which was one of the original sponsors of the project.


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