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Letter to the Editor: Let’s Work Together to Curb Opioid Addiction

The views stated here are those of the individual contributor and do not necessarily reflect those of the staff of HaddamNow.com.

Connecticut, much like other states across the nation, is struggling to combat a growing opioid epidemic. Opioid addiction has impacted every community in Connecticut, no matter how large or small, urban or rural.

With a projected death toll of 1,076 in 2017, Connecticut experienced an 18 percent increase in overdose deaths since 2016. These alarming statistics indicate that the opioid addiction epidemic is growing at alarming rates. We must act now to reverse this trend, which is getting worse and not better.

On Friday, February 2, 2018, I joined U.S. Senator Chris Murphy along with emergency responders, medical professionals, prevention coordinators, impacted community members and local elected officials at the Haddam Volunteer Fire Department to discuss ways that our community can come together to combat the opioid addiction crisis. I am dedicated to working with my legislative colleagues to find solutions to this epidemic at the state level, which includes meeting with members of the community to better understand challenges as well as best practices.

Let’s work together to develop prevention services, spread awareness of current support, and create a collaborative overarching plan to curb this growing trend. It is vital that we work as a team if we are going to overcome this public health crisis.

In the state legislature, we have taken serious action to address this widespread and fast-growing epidemic. With the start of the 2018 legislative session on February 7, my colleagues and I are committed to combating the growing opioid crisis by expanding upon current legislation in the following ways: increase penalties for the sale of fentanyl, use funds from the Drug Assets Forfeiture Account for drug treatment beds, and establish a training program for mental health and PTSD issues impacting veterans involved in the criminal justice system.

Moving forward together, we must keep working diligently to end this deadly epidemic.

Sincerely,

State Representative Robert Siegrist

36th District