Communities look to help prevent drug overdoses - WFSB 3 Connecticut

Communities look to help prevent drug overdoses

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It kills more people than car crashes, suicides and murders combined.

There were more than 500 accidental drug abuse deaths in the first six months of the year, according to the state medical examiner.

Thursday was National Overdose Awareness Day, and communities across the state are looking to help.

On Hartford’s south green, people were hoping to save lives on Thursday.

"We are all involved in too deeply for the past year almost to get the awareness going,” said Hartford Dr. Praveen Dhulipalla, who is a pharmacist.

Pharmacists are giving out overdose kits, as naloxone can prevent death.

Few know this better than Jose Rivera, a former addict who is getting kits to help others.

"I am in a program and I stay clean, and I help others. I guess God’s got a purpose for me to help others,” Rivera said.

For those with insurance, the kits are free. Those without, the state is picking up some of the cost.

One man is trying to help his neighbor.

"Just last week I had to give her two of them. Brought her back but it was a bit scary,” said Robert Strausser, of Niantic.

Connecticut is doing more to fight drug addiction. State police are now trained to administer naloxone, and lawmakers recently passed legislation that helps destroy unused opioid medications, increases security of the controlled substances, and requires insurance providers to cover detox treatment.

Gov. Dannel Malloy signed that bill on Overdose Awareness Day, stressing the deadly effects of a drug 50 times more potent than heroin.

"In 2012 there were 12 deaths in CT where fentanyl was in the system. By the end of this year we are estimating fentanyl will be in the system of 644 individuals,” Malloy said.

Denise Padmore doesn't use drugs, but sees what it’s doing to her neighborhood.

"I’ve been helping a lot of women. I’ve been out on the streets in the night and I see mostly the women. They need help,” Padmore said.

The drug addiction isn't in our cities, it's in our suburbs in just about every community and every background.

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