CT reacts to President's public health emergency - WFSB 3 Connecticut

CT reacts to President's public health emergency

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CT is reacting to the declared public health emergency (WFSB file photo) CT is reacting to the declared public health emergency (WFSB file photo)
HARTFORD, CT (WFSB) -

President Donald Trump declared a Public Health Emergency to fight the nation's opioid epidemic.

However, some say that won't provide enough money to combat a crisis that's killing more than 170 Americans a day.

While the Public Health Emergency Declaration does not allocate more federal dollars to combat the opioid epidemic, it does allow resources to be redirected to the crisis.

Many say it's not enough but several who work directly with addicts in Connecticut say it is a much-needed step.

Lisa Johns’ son Christopher died three years ago, from a heroin overdose. He was 33 years old and battled an addiction that started when he was a teenager.

“Today was a good step,” Johns said on Thursday.

She added that the declaration is necessary but not the answer.

“I'm glad that he did declare that but we still have to wait for the funds. The funding is needed for detox, treatment plans and longer stays of rehab,” Johns said.

“These patterns of addiction we haven't seen before, or drug abuse that leads to addiction, nobody's seen it before,” said Julian Hartt, co-founder and director of The Next Right Thing, an individualized treatment program for teens and their families.

He views the declaration as a challenge to the private sector.

“Rally the resources you have. Throwing money into things doesn't necessarily fix them,” Hartt said.

Both Hartt and Johns agree this battle is far from over but they're not about to give up.

“For those that are suffering, don't give up hope. You can't give up hope,” Johns said.

Lisa Johns started a non-profit after her son's death that in part focuses on education and early intervention.

Based on numbers from the state, Connecticut will have more than 1,000 overdose deaths this year. That would be a first.

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