State Leaders Fight Heroin Epidemic - NBC Connecticut

State Leaders Fight Heroin Epidemic



    State senators say they are asking congress for more money to fight the problem. They want more funding for treatment centers and police departments to help stop the spike in overdoses. (Published Monday, March 17, 2014)

    State leaders are taking new steps to stop a heroin epidemic and have asked Congress to step in and help.

    Officials say heroin is a growing problem in Connnecticut, and Hartford police have made several busts in the last few weeks.

    “The overdoses in Hartford are on a very significant increase,” said Hartford police spokesman Deputy Chief Brian Foley.

    Authorities said many of the heroin batches have been laced with Fentanyl, a painkiller that boosts the high and is difficult to police.

    “The drugs are always going to be there until we are provided the right amount of resources to attack the problem,” Foley said.

    Local rehab centers said they don't have the resources either, and patients are in desperate need of help.

    “Funding for that is crucial for us,” said William Young of the Alcohol Drug Recovery Center.

    Sens. Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal just announced a plan to attack the heroin epidemic that started to surface in the last year.

    “It ruins lives, it ruins families," Murphy said. "We’ve got to get serious about this right now.”

    The senators said they would ask Congress for money, but the amount hadn’t been decided. The goal was to get more funding for treatment facilities, so they could give more support to heroin addicts.

    That money would also go to the police departments, allowing them to create task forces to find heroin suppliers and get them off the streets.

    The senators also pushed to make the drugs that can stop a heroin overdose more accessible.

    “We've seen a doubling of number of people in Connecticut have died from heroin overdoses and that's unacceptable,” Murphy said.

    Doctors who treat patients who have overdosed said the extra resources are critical to save lives.