Opioid Epidemic Hits the Shoreline

In larger cities and in small towns, Connecticut's opioid epidemic does not seem to discriminate and there is new evidence of that along the Shoreline, including in East Lyme, where a man was recently arrested on several drug charges.

“I’m not surprised. This happens everywhere," said Dawn Artis, who was visiting East Lyme from Waterford. "No place is exempt.”

East Lyme is now in a battle of its own against what town leaders believe is a regional drug epidemic after responding to three opioid-related overdoses in just a few days.

All three people who overdosed survived, according to police. Two of the people were administered Narcan, which is an antidote that can block the effects of heroin and other narcotics. 

East Lyme police arrested Luis Velez-Ramos, 23, of New London, on multiple drug charges and seized several bags of heroin, as well as marijuana and cash during the arrest.

He was charged with possession of narcotics, possession of narcotics with intent to sell and possession less than half an ounce of marijuana. 

“I think you save one person at a time," East Lyme First Selectman Mark Nickerson said.

He said he was not surprised this type of powerful drug was in his town, especially after what has unfolded in nearby communities, such as New Haven, which just experienced a third death related to a rash of overdoses in recent days. 

“There’s no such thing as a border when it comes to drug dealers and drug addicts," Nickerson said.

East Lyme police said Narcan kits have been made available to just about every first responder in the town.

"It's been building," Nickerson said of the drug issue. "I don't think we're quite at the peak where it's going to start getting better anytime soon."

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