Police reach out to students in an effort to combat heroin probl - WFSB 3 Connecticut

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Police reach out to students in an effort to combat heroin problem

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Police said they seized well over 10 ounces of heroin, over an ounce of powder cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana. (WFSB) Police said they seized well over 10 ounces of heroin, over an ounce of powder cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana. (WFSB)
Lorenzo A. Malcolm, Gilberto X. Alvarez and Rachael Mead. (New London police photos) Lorenzo A. Malcolm, Gilberto X. Alvarez and Rachael Mead. (New London police photos)
GROTON, CT (WFSB) -

After a spike in drug overdoses in the New London area, Groton police took $30,000 worth of heroin off the streets on Tuesday.

In addition to the Fentanyl-enhanced heroin, police said they seized over an ounce of powder cocaine, crack cocaine and marijuana.

Three people are under arrest, all who police say have a history of drug problems.

Police arrested 27-year-old Lorenzo A. Malcolm, of New London, 29-year-old Gilberto X. Alvarez, and 40-year-old Rachael A. Mead.

On Tuesday afternoon, police seized the drugs from a car parked in the Groton Walmart parking lot.

The suspects appeared in court on Wednesday.

Malcolm was represented by New London Attorney Gorden Videll, who knows the deadly effects of heroin. He said his father died of an overdose, and adds the problem in the region is serious.

"The amount of arrests have increased. Clearly there is an effort that is working as far as getting the arrests,” Videll said.

A regional community enhancement task force was put together to fight the recent heroin epidemic in the area, following several deaths and dozens of overdoses.

That task force is credited for the recent drug bust.

"They know that we're out there. We're working with the other law enforcement agencies, working with statewide narcotics, federal task forces trying to combat this epidemic,” said Groton Police Lt. John Varone.

The task force crackdown is not just a police effort. There is an educational component too, as police are reaching out to teens.

Students at Fitch High School were part of a session on Wednesday morning, hearing from those who have battled drug abuse.

"It’s kind of a multi-pronged approach, we're doing enforcement we're also trying to do education but we're also trying to help those people that are already addicted,” said Groton Police Chief LJ Fusano Jr.

The court ordered screenings for all of those who have been charged, as well as detox for Alvarez.

"We are one degree of separation from people who have fallen victim to this issue, so it has to be a real effort and his has to start from the top and that has to include Malloy not cutting budgets for these types of issues,” Videll said.

On Wednesday evening, a grass-roots organization held another forum for students and parents at Fitch High School about the heroin problem.

The speakers included recovering addicts who hope their message hits its intended target.

Alisha Choquette, a Stonington woman who has been clean for two years, spoke at the opioid abuse forum.

"I don't look like the typical junkie whose on the street. This disease affects everybody," she told the crowd.

Tammy De La Cruz, whose son Joey has struggled with prescription pill addiction, founded Community Speaks, which is one of the non-profits that hosted the forum.

"I'm hoping that by speaking out and airing our dirty laundry that just one person would be saved," she said.

It appeared the direct approach worked, as 14-year-old Linnea Mather said it was a night she will never forget.

"The messages came very strong and even if you haven't gone through it, just hearing other people go through it you definitely feel the impact," Mather said.

Choquette said she believed she made a difference on Wednesday night, but added that there is still a lot of work ahead. She hopes the government does not cut its drug abuse budget and that more people will work to prevent drug abuse and help treat addicts.

For more information on her story, click here.

To learn more about addiction services, click here.

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