Guest writer is Ellen Brezovsky LCSW of Silver Hill Hospital, director of community relations and RPC adviser.

How do we begin to make sense of the terrible impact of opioid addiction on our communities? The highly addictive nature of opioids, prescription pain medication or heroin makes them dangerous. The increased availability of prescription opioids puts them in reach of young and old. Illegal or legal prescription medication use can lead to heroin use when access to the medication is limited. The suffering from opioid withdrawal is intense, and feeling better becomes the No. 1 priority. The search to secure the drug grows, and can lead to unknowingly acquiring synthetic opioids like fentanyl, which is much more potent than oxycodone or heroin. Negative consequences are overridden by the need to relieve the suffering. The risk of overdose also increases when opioids are mixed with alcohol or other medications.

Although addiction is a chronic disease, the good news is that it does respond to treatment. There are many treatment options, including medication and counseling. Support from family, friends and a recovery community is key. Knowing how to use Narcan to reverse an overdose is also essential in battling this epidemic.

A key to reducing access to prescription medications is safe storage and disposal. Ridgefield’s permanent medication drop box is in the police department lobby; the RPC and RPD are sponsoring a Drug Take Back Day, Saturday April 29, at Bissell’s Pharmacy. 

Ridgefield will be hosting free public Narcan training in June. For more information, email coalition@ridgefieldct.org or go to the RPC website, ridgefieldpreventioncouncil.org.

Note to Ridgefield High School seniors: The RPC Save One Scholarship is open for applications until Monday, May 1. The SLO office has the details.