Faith-based groups working to combat opioid addiction in the black community will hold an inaugural meeting in their statewide effort on Thursday at the Cross Street AME Zion Church.
The Faith-based Response to the Opioid Crisis Committee was formed with state and federal funding from the Connecticut Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services and the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration. The committee is led by Dr. Ayana Jordan, assistant professor of psychiatry at Yale School of Medicine.
The committee is made up of faith-based groups and leaders who are targeting five Connecticut cities where the opioid crisis has had the greatest impact: Hartford, New Haven, Bridgeport, Waterbury and New London. The first meeting is being held in Middletown because of its central location.
"We want to partner with the faith communities in those regions to really decrease substance use and increase access to treatment," Jordan said in a statement.
The Thursday program will focus on supporting the African-American individuals and communities affected by opioid, alcohol and drug addiction.
Cross Street AME Zion Church is at 440 West St. in Middletown. The event will be held from 5:30 to 8 p.m., with food served at 5:30 and the discussion beginning at 6.
Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on Thursday - International Opioid Awareness Day - signed new legislation that reforms prescription practices and increases data sharing, among other changes intended to reduce opioid addiction. Recent state data show that Connecticut is on pace to have more than 1,000 opioid-related deaths this year, which would break last year's record of 917 deaths.