NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH)– Alarming new numbers reveal just how bad the drug crisis has gotten. Statistics are getting worse nationwide and now Connecticut’s overdose rate is shown to be worse than the national average.
This is why President Trump has called the opioid epidemic a national emergency. These numbers are bad news for the country, but even worse news for the state of Connecticut.The state saw more than 700 deaths from drug overdoses two years ago. More than 900 last year.
The U.S. attorney tells News 8 that number is trending towards a thousand deaths this year. Federal prosecutors are working on this with police. There’s actually a statewide task force. When someone dies from a drug overdose, it’s usually heroin, sometimes laced with fentanyl. What authorities do is then go through that victim’s phone, looking for information about their dealer.
Working with the U.S. attorney to educate people is Martha Galligan. She has a terrible story of losing a child and a grandchild
“My daughter overdosed on heroin and unfortunately in the process somehow she ended up on top of her son and he suffocated to death,” said Galligan.
“So there is a 20 year mandatory term that could be charged in the case when you can show that the drug distributed by the defendant caused a death,” said Deirdre Daly, U.S. attorney.
Martha says when she meets with drug dealers, they don’t know about that, and don’t usually think about the deaths their products are causing. Those deaths are tracked by the National Center for Health Statistics. The list them in terms of number of drug overdose deaths per one hundred thousand people.
The national average for last year was a little over 19 per 100,000. For Connecticut, however, last years numbers put our state at more than 25 deaths per 100,000. That significantly higher than the national average of 19. Those are last year’s numbers. The state budget crisis has kept the state’s Chief Medical Examiner’s Office from releasing quarterly data for this year.
That office does tell the New London Day newspaper that the numbers are “definitely not decreasing.”