Overdose deaths lead to new bereavement support group

NORWICH, Conn. (WTNH) — For the first time the people gathered in a meeting room at Center for Hospice Care share a single sadness – the loss of a loved one to addiction.

“Getting reconnected to other people that understand what you’re going through is sort of that first step in thinking about the future and how to go on,” said Angela Duhaime who runs the Partnership for Success program at Norwich Human Services.

(Photo: Tina Detelj/WTNH )

She says the idea for the once a month meeting started when friends and relatives of overdose victims gathered to create squares for a Remembrance Quilt.

“We realized that this was something we should be doing regularly in getting people together to be able to talk, to be able to share things and experiences,” said Duhaime.

In 2016 she says there were 24 overdose deaths in Norwich alone.

(Photo: Tina Detelj/WTNH )

“There was almost a 70 percent increase from the year before,” said Duhaime.

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Grief has grown along with the problem.

“They want to know about addiction and I think that is part of the healing process,” said Duhaime.

“To partner with to be here for our community it’s a privilege,” said Carol Mahier, President and CEO of Center for Hospice Care Southeast Connecticut.

All of the bereavement groups at the Center for Hospice Care are free of charge so they are open to anyone who needs them and the healing garden in front of the headquarters is also open to the community for anyone looking for comfort.

(Photo: Tina Detelj/WTNH )

A stone fountain sits among pergola covered benches and greenery creating a serene setting.

“It’s just so important that people know that they can find comfort and that they’re not alone,” explained Mahier.