Bill to be signed Tuesday in an effort to combat opioid crisis - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Bill to be signed Tuesday in an effort to combat opioid crisis

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(WFSB file photo) (WFSB file photo)

The tide could be turning in the fight against heroin and painkillers in the country.

On Tuesday, President Barack Obama is expected to sign a $1 billion bill that would allow states to give more access to those needing help.

People in southeastern Connecticut, an area that has been ravaged by heroin, said they have been clamoring for help for their loved ones for years.

Sons, daughters, sometimes, even themselves, but can't get the personalized help they want. They're hoping on Tuesday, all of that will change.

The Office of the Chief Medical Examiner reported 720 overdose deaths last year, and an expected nearly 900 this year.

“Every time they go into recovery for that detox and there's not a facility to put them when they're done, they're off that rat wheel, they relapse and they're back on,” said Lisa Cote Johns, of Community Speaks Out, who lost her son to an overdose.

The 21st Century Cures Act is expected to be signed into law on Tuesday, which will open $1 billion in federal funding for states to tackle their heroin and painkiller problems.

“We're behind. I can get these poor people into a detox for up to five days, but then they're put on a waiting list for 5 to 6 weeks because there's not a facility to put these people in and they're dying,” said Cote Johns.

Community Speaks Out is a non-profit in Groton started by the family of Joey Gingerella.

Friends said Gingerella was sober for a long time, and died this weekend after being shot outside a bar while he was trying to break up a fight.

On Monday, with the 24-year-old in mind, families forged on, knowing the fight isn’t over.

Organizations would need to apply for grants to get the federal funding and that's what the group would like to do with the money.

“Personalized treatment and recovery for every individual. Enough beds, doctors, enough pharmaceutical drugs, so every person has a fair chance of recovery,” said Senator Richard Blumenthal.

While the bill is expected to be signed, there's no timetable as to when organizations can apply for grants, but they're hoping it'll only take a few weeks.

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