Community leaders address heroin overdoses in New London - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Community leaders address heroin overdoses in New London

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Patients who overdosed from heroin were taken to Lawrence & Memorial Hospital, according to New London police. (WFSB photo) Patients who overdosed from heroin were taken to Lawrence & Memorial Hospital, according to New London police. (WFSB photo)
NEW LONDON, CT (WFSB) -

Community leaders are addressing the numerous heroin overdoses in New London, after eight people were treated at the hospital in one day.

One person died before he was even transported to the hospital, according to officials in New London.

Officials across southeast Connecticut met on Friday to tackle the reemergence of the drug.

Bill Savinelli is the clinical director at the Stonington Institute.

"We have clients that come to us struggling with the disease of addiction," Savinelli said. "But they also struggle with trauma co-occurring disorders, mental health issues and heroin is an escape."

Poison control officials told Eyewitness News that there were no new overdose cases overnight, but Thursday was a busy day for doctors and nurses at Lawrence & Memorial Hospital.

A doctor close to the situation said there is fear that the heroin, while dangerous enough, was likely mixed with another substance. Tests are still being done to find the answer.

Police in New London said they are investigating to find out the source of the heroin.

Mayor Michael Passero said four overdoses came in early Thursday afternoon.

He called it a growing health crisis that crosses all social and economic boundaries.

"Our communities must face it and not leave the families who are touched by it to suffer alone and in shame," Passero said in a statement.

Officials said that in 2014, there were 325 deaths attributed to the drug, 53 percent more than two years earlier.

L&M Hospital reported 74 heroin overdoses in 2014. That number increased 26% this past year to 93 cases reported up to November 2015.

Narcan is the drug used to combat the effects of overdoses, but doctors said it must be administered quickly.

First responders carry it in many places now. Doctors as well as pharmacists can prescribe it.

Regional agencies who treat drug addictions said those on pain medications and prescriptions get hooked on the high after doctors stop their prescriptions, so they turn to heroin, which they can get.

"It could be either more pure, it could have Fentanyl in it we don't know. But it's a deadly batch so we all know they affect your respiration and people can die very easily," Savinelli said.

Report any drug activity anonymously to New London Police Department by clicking here, texting 274637 or calling 888-258-9955. 

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