Task Force Initiatives

The Litchfield County Opiate Task Force is a community collaborative working to reduce the harm caused by the overdose epidemic in the Northwest corner of Connecticut. The LCOTF organizes its work around four essential goals: Improving access to care, enhancing collaboration and data sharing amongst service providers, reducing substance use and misuse in the community, and sharing information and resources about addiction, prevention, safety, and treatment.

The Task Force uses current data trends, research, and anecdotal evidence to investigate the needs of the community and inform initiatives the group takes on. Much of the work of the Task Force is ongoing. Projects taken on by the membership include:

  • Coordinating recovery coaches in the region who help people through the treatment process and provide outreach to increase service efficiency and coverage. This includes regular meetings for all such positions in the region.
  • A community case manager stationed at the emergency department, who helps people with addiction connect to treatment and other support services.
  • A Network Coordinator, a full-time staff person for the LCOTF, to improve interagency connections and referrals, engage communities and other stakeholders in solutions, and manage LCOTF initiatives.
  • Narcan training and distribution by the LCOTF and its participating partners.
  • Stigma reduction efforts and ongoing community education about trauma as a root cause of addiction.
  • Collaboration with law enforcement in several communities to conduct overdose follow-ups alongside a recovery coach in order to connect individuals and their loved ones to treatment and support resources.
  • A mobile harm reduction toolkit, called the Rover, with supplies such as naloxone, fentanyl testing strips, wound care, safe sex supplies, clean syringes, etc.
  • Investigating voluntary best practices for rural sober living homes.
  • Creating an online referral system to improve timely connections to medication-assisted treatment (MAT). This will further assist in coordinating expanded MAT service availability in the community.
  • Response planning for spikes in fatal and nonfatal overdoses with local government, law enforcement, and providers. This includes a text alert system and the deployment of outreach and harm reduction services to the impacted communities.
  • Expanding access to supportive services during the evenings and weekends, including the hiring of a new community case manager position to cover these hours and assist in police-assisted follow-up to overdoses.
  • Maintaining a website with information about substance use disorder that is specific and helpful to the audience, along with local resources and opportunities to get involved.
  • Advocating for policy and best practices to support the community response to the overdose crisis, addiction, and the root causes of addiction.
  • Expanding resources for family members of those with a substance use disorder by offering trainings and resources for clinicians to lead support groups.
  • Holding community meetings and participating in local events to raise awareness about addiction and the overdose crisis.