Groton Police Say Heroin, Opioid Overdoses Have Not Decreased - NBC Connecticut

Groton Police Say Heroin, Opioid Overdoses Have Not Decreased

Heroin Crisis Has Not Decreased in Groton

(Published Thursday, Oct. 13, 2016)

A heroin epidemic is still plaguing New London County and it's not on the mend, according to Groton police.

Police Chief L.J. Fusaro said in the first nine months of 2016 the number of heroin overdoses has doubled the total number of heroin overdoses in 2015.

In January, Lawrence and Memorial Hospital saw several overdose cases and those occurrences are still at a high, Fusaro said.

The drugs are coming from Central America, even as far as Afghanistan, according to Fusaro, who added the problems in Groton spills over into neighboring communities.

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It's not a problem law enforcement can solve on its own, said Fusaro, who suggested there needs to be more longterm treatment.

"I hate to say we've gotten used to it. We accept it, we know that there's a problem, but it's a multifaceted issue," the police chief said. 

Related crimes, like shootings and burglaries, link back to drug use, Fusaro said.

New London Police told NBC Connecticut that they're seeing the similar trends.

Members of the community have also realized it takes much more than policing to solve the drug problem.

"It was definitely knee buckling when we went through it," said Joe de la Cruz about learning of his son Joey's addiction.

de la Cruz is a co-founder of the group Community Speaks Out. It's a group for families and friends facing addition to support and educate one another, distilling the sigma of addiction.

The group holds monthly meetings at the Groton Public Library.

"When you come together and realize it's a disease, just like cancer is, you fight it a different way," de la Cruz said. "It's a different approach that we all need to take as families."

His son Joey is addicted to Percocet and at one time was stealing tools to feed his habit, according to de la Cruz. He's now been pill-free for eight months.

Groups like Alliance for a Living in New London are also stepping up to help. Representatives tell NBC Connecticut that after the heroin overdose surge, they've handed out 300 naloxone kits to families, friends and other organizations who might need to use them.