Mental Health and Addiction

Leading the Discussion

Addiction is a top health concern in eastern Connecticut, but the problem is solvable with the right mix of collaboration, evidence-based treatment and coordinated care. A panel led by Windham Hospital, Natchaug Hospital and the Hartford Healthcare Behavioral Health Network led a community discussion on Sept. 29 at Eastern Connecticut State University on how health agencies, community organizations and law enforcement can work together to deal with K2, heroin and prescription drug abuse in the Windham region.

Finding Solutions

While it’s easy to talk about the problem, Hartford HealthCare East Region Director of Emergency Services Karen Butterworth-Erban, RN, is taking action. In 2015, the Connecticut Hospital Association recognized Butterworth-Erban as one of their “Healthcare Heroes” for her work in battling overdoses and addiction.  After noticing an increase in the number of drug-related visits to the emergency department, as well a rise in overdoses, she helped form an Emergency Services-Community Public Safety Collaborative, which includes community partners such as Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network, EMS, local fire and police departments, the Department of Children and Families (DCF), the Southeastern Regional Action Council, and Connecticut State Police.

Demonstrating Our Expertise

When an expert is needed to discuss the problems of addiction and dangers of drug use the media know where to look. In 2015, clinical experts from Windham Hospital and the Hartford HealthCare Behavioral Health Network lent their expertise to local, state and national media stories on synthetic marijuana (K2), heroin addiction and a designer drug known as Spice.