The state of Connecticut is no exception to the nation’s growing issues with substance abuse and addiction. Increases in abuse of both illicit drugs and prescription medications are affecting many states and communities in the New England area and not limited to highly populated cities. On the other hand, proximity to New York makes the state of Connecticut more vulnerable to the drugs passing through the large metropolis of New York City. As a result, there is a real need in Connecticut to provide substance abuse treatment for those who are struggling with drug addiction.
It can help to know more about the problems faced by the state and local areas with regards to substance abuse as well as the solutions. This includes how substance abuse and other mental health issues specifically affect people locally, what types of treatment are available, and how to find a high-quality treatment facility that is most likely to provide positive recovery outcomes.
Addiction Treatment in Connecticut
In the state of Connecticut, the body responsible for oversight of addiction treatment services is the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS). While this oversight and management is provided to support all citizens of the state, its main goal is to provide access to services to those who might not otherwise be able to afford treatment for substance abuse or other mental health services.
DMHAS works to provide a wide range of mental health care and substance abuse services, including:
- Inpatient care
- Hospitalization services
- Outpatient treatment
- Vocational rehabilitation
- Outreach and community support
Through these services, the organization is able to provide listings of service providers, mental health authorities, services offered, and educational information to help those who are struggling with mental health issues, including substance abuse.
Facts and Data
In order to understand the treatment landscape in Connecticut, it helps to have a better understanding of the state’s specific issues with regard to mental health and substance abuse, as well as what types of treatment centers are available and how drug abuse and mental illness affect the state as a whole, including mortality and crime rates. These statistics give a picture of how Connecticut is handling its mental healthcare and how people who need this type of care can most easily access it.
Types of Available Treatment Centers
According to the most recent National Survey of Substance Abuse Treatment Services, Connecticut has about 223 treatment centers located across the state. Of these, the survey identified the following types of programs:
- Private, nonprofit centers: 194
- Private, for-profit centers 16
- Local, county, or community government-run centers: 2
- State-run centers: 6
- Federally run centers: 3 (two Veterans Administration, one Department of Defense)
According to the DMHAS website, the state-run facilities include four state-funded inpatient treatment centers for severe mental health or substance abuse issues, as well as mental health authorities across the state that are available to provide information and references.
Nevertheless, according to the National Alliance on Mental Illness, only about 24.5 percent of those who live with serious mental illness in Connecticut are getting the help they need through the public mental health system.
Prevalence of Drug Abuse and Mental Illness
According to a report from the Office of the President of the United States, Connecticut ranks in the top 10 states for illicit drug use by young adults 18-26 years of age, with heroin as the most common illicit drug of abuse. The National Survey on Drug Use and Health reported that nearly 10 percent of people 12 or older in the state had used illicit drugs in the past month; however, this is lower than the national average of 10.2 percent.
Marijuana is the second highest drug of abuse cited in treatment center admissions, with 8.5 percent of people 12 and over having used it in the prior month. This is similar to the nationwide average of 8.4 percent.
The President’s report also demonstrates that Connecticut has a relatively high occurrence of non-medical use of prescription medications. However, the state has employed prescription tracking programs in an attempt to manage this issue.
Deaths Due to Drug Abuse or Mental Illness
According to Connecticut’s Official State Website, accidental overdose and drug-related accidental death is an increasing problem in the state. In 2012, 355 people died due to drugs or alcohol; in 2014, that number had increased to 558.
Deaths due to other mental health issues are also a problem in the state. According to an article from Connecticut Magazine, the state has one of the highest suicide rates in the country, and that rate is growing, with 372 suicides in 2012, the most recent data year. The greatest increases occurred in the age groups of 15-19 and 40-49.
Crime Rates for Drug Abuse and Mental Illness
Connecticut is considered by the Drug Enforcement Agency to be an important drug transit corridor. Located between New York and Massachusetts, Connecticut is often a destination and transport path for shipments of illicit drugs into the country. For this reason, New England as a whole is part of the major drug threat to the nation.
Closer to home, according to an article from TrendCT, nearly twice as many people 18 or younger are arrested for drug crimes or possession as for violent crime. In addition, a state report demonstrates that about 12 percent of state inmates have some sort of mental health disorder.
To help with these issues, Connecticut has a criminal justice diversion program to attempt to provide rehab services for mentally ill and substance abuse offenders, in the hope that this will decrease the crime rate related to these areas.
State and Local Laws on Addiction and Treatment
When it comes to laws regarding treating substance abuse, a statement from the Connecticut General Assembly posits that voluntary and involuntary commitment to rehab for both addiction and other mental health issues are allowed for by law. This commitment can either be to a state-run facility or a private one, and patient rights are delineated through the Connecticut Judicial Branch. Privately run facilities are licensed by the state’s Department of Public Health.
The criminal justice diversion program is an attempt by the state to get treatment support for those who need it rather than just sending them to jail or prison for drug possession or similar offenses. The goal of the state is to help those for whom criminality might be able to be prevented through substance abuse or mental health treatment.
Treatment Credentials and Accreditations
As mentioned above, treatment facilities are licensed through the Connecticut Department of Public Health. As described by the Connecticut General Assembly, they are required to receive a Certificate of Need from the Office of Health Care Access before licensure will be considered.
Providers who offer services that can be covered by the state’s mental health and substance abuse treatment program are required to apply for approval by DMHAS for participation in the state program.
Nonprofit and Government Treatment Resources
The DMHAS website provides links to the states resources and information for mental health and substance abuse treatment, including:
- Local mental health authorities for therapeutic programs and crisis intervention
- State-operated inpatient treatment facilities
- Service locator for the various regions in the state
- Informational resources
In addition, the Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery is a nonprofit resource center for substance abuse treatment services and recovery.