By Fran Wilson, Staff Writer
HARTFORD — Hartford Public Library recently received a grant to arm staff with a lifesaving opioid reversal drug: naloxone.
Thanks to a $10,000 grant from the Cigna Foundation. The grant comes amid a spike in opioid-related deaths in the state. According to officials, more people are dying of accidental overdose of opioid than from homicide, suicide and motor vehicle crashes.
In 2017, 1038 people across the state died from opioid overdose. Hartford had the highest number of fatalities, 58.
Library officials took steps to join other city workers, including firefighters and police officers, to combat the problem. Police officers and firefighters are already armed with naloxone, which reverses the effect of opioid overdose.
“As a public institution, we see that our entire community is impacted by the opioid crisis; it was clear that a rapid and robust response to the problems caused by opioid drug crisis was imperative,” said HPL CEO Bridget Quinn-Carey in a statement. “Hartford police, fire and ambulance personnel have been wonderful in helping us deal with overdose situations, but we also want to be ready for instances when emergency services cannot arrive in time.”
The money will help train staff and provide naloxone and CPR supplies. Library officials said they will also provide opioid abuse awareness materials in all libraries across the city. They will also work with the Greater Hartford Harm Reduction Coalition to host workshops and forums.
“Libraries like HPL are increasingly innovating around health education. We are proud to support this potentially life-saving initiative and commend HPL for its efforts to battle substance use disorders in our communities,” said Mary Engvall, executive director of the Cigna Foundation.