Lawmaker, experts to discuss heroin 'epidemic' in Connecticut - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Lawmaker, experts to discuss heroin 'epidemic' in Connecticut

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(WFSB file photo) (WFSB file photo)

A lawmaker, mental health professionals and drug abuse experts said they plan to discuss what they call a heroin abuse epidemic in the state.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal said he’s hosting a dialog with the experts on the federal, state and local response to deadly heroin and opiate abuse cases.

"Heroin and opiate abuse is a deadly, pernicious scourge plaguing communities across the state, claiming hundreds of lives and destroying families,” Blumenthal said in a statement. “Despite major advances in Connecticut, including the widespread use of Narcan and greater attention to the prescription of opiate pain killers, we have yet to control and contain this epidemic.”

Blumenthal said that in 2012, there were 195 deadly heroin, morphine or codeine overdoses. In 2013, the number jumped to 284. Last year, it was 347.

He said the increasing addiction rates are connected to the availability of illegal drugs, the lack of adequate resources to address addiction and the prescribing of pain killers.

The senator said he is hosting discussions on the similar aspects of drug abuse.

“This month, in communities across Connecticut heavily impacted by this tragedy, I will convene doctors, substance abuse experts, mental health professionals and law enforcement to discuss the response to this crisis and to identify ways that federal resources may be able to assist," Blumenthal said.

He’ll be joined by members of Connecticut Community for Addiction Recovery, the Thomas Murphy Center, Perception Programs Inc., the Northeast Communities Against Substance Abuse, the Farrell Treatment Center and the Quality Management and Improvement Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.

The discussion is set to begin at 10 a.m. at the CCAR’s Windham Community Center on Main Street in Willimantic.

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