Addiction help funding is in jeopardy - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Addiction help funding is in jeopardy

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(WFSB file photo) (WFSB file photo)

A recovering addict told Eyewitness News he had to go out of state to get treatment and one local organization says that's exactly why Washington should "increase" support services in Connecticut, not cut them.

Since purchasing 200 narcolon kits in 2015, New London firefighters to date have treated 180 people for drug overdoses, which is about 80 calls a year.

"It took losing everything that I actually had when it came to possessions and family members and the trust of family members,” 20-year-old Dillon McCarthy, who is a recovering addict, said.

McCarthy is on the road to recovery from drug addiction. But his road ended in Connecticut because of what he says was the lack of long-term recovery help, which he had to get in Florida.

"They really didn't know enough care enough,” McCarthy said. “It seemed like it was just a place to house you."  

Dillon shared that problem on Tuesday with the New London Opioid Action Team. This group is trying to connect people with substance use disorder to appropriate on-demand treatment. U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal said the White House wants to cut this type of funding. 

"The cuts in this prevention education and treatment programs for drug addiction and abuse make us weaker,” Blumenthal said.

Blumenthal said Connecticut stands to lose 44 percent of the Medicaid-backed funding to fight addictions while national average per state is 30 percent.

Lisa Cotes son Christopher died of a heroin overdose in 2014. Cotes said funding is critical and any cuts would be a setback.

"New London Heroin Task Force hopefully has the voice to say you can't…this is what you need to do,” Cotes said.

As for McCarthy, Connecticut needs to provide more help like Florida does for him.

"They gave me aftercare programs were very persistent in making sure I made it into sober living,” McCarthy said. “I had outpatient program after that."

Twenty-seven community agencies make up the Opioid Action Team Task Force including the fire department.

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