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Overdose Deaths Could Top 1,000 By End Of Year In Connecticut

The number of overdose deaths, particularly due to opioids, has increased in Connecticut this year.
The number of overdose deaths, particularly due to opioids, has increased in Connecticut this year. Photo Credit: Flickr user frankieleon

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – Accidental overdose deaths are on the rise in Connecticut, and are on track to reach more than a thousand this year, according to the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

In the first half of 2017 there have been 539 accidental overdose deaths in Connecticut, according to a report by Chief Medical Examiner Dr. James Gill. The report projects that by the ned of the year there will be 1,078 accidental overdose deaths. This would be a 17.5 percent increase over the 917 accidental overdose deaths in 2016, and more than three times the 357 deaths in 2012.

One factor that has increased immensely over the past five years is the prevalence of fentanyl in overdose deaths. In 2012 there were 14 deaths involving fentanyl, while so far in 2017 there have been 322 deaths involving fentanyl. The report predicts that there will be 644 overdose deaths involving fentanyl by the end of 2017.

The following is a town-by-town breakdown of all the overdose deaths in Fairfield County for the first half of 2017:

  • Bethel: 1
  • Bridgeport: 25
  • Brookfield: 1
  • Danbury: 8
  • Darien: 0
  • Easton: 1
  • Fairfield: 2
  • Greenwich: 1
  • Monroe: 0
  • New Canaan: 0
  • New Fairfield: 1
  • Newtown: 0
  • Norwalk: 6
  • Redding: 0
  • Ridgefield: 1
  • Shelton: 6
  • Sherman: 0
  • Stamford: 5
  • Stratford: 9
  • Trumbull: 2
  • Westport: 0
  • Weston: 0
  • Wilton: 0

Connecticut's two Democratic senators, Chris Murphy and Richard Blumenthal, both called for action after the release of the report this week.

“Today’s announcement is devastating. The opioid epidemic is ravaging our state, and it’s not slowing down,” said Murphy. “People in Connecticut are counting on us to help end this epidemic. Unfortunately, we’ve only seen lip service from the Trump administration—calling it a crisis but then championing billions of dollars in cuts to Medicaid that would cripple life-saving substance abuse programs that Connecticut families rely on. Republicans and Democrats need to start working together to address this crisis.”

“This shocking and inexorable increase in fatal overdoses in Connecticut – 539 in the first half of 2017 alone – proves no community has been spared from the ravages of the opioid epidemic," said Blumenthal. "These hundreds of deaths are made all the more tragic by the knowledge they were entirely preventable. We owe it to those who have lost loved ones to the scourge of opioids to recommit to efforts to halt this crisis in its tracks, including allocating additional resources for treatment and prevention, and dispelling once and for all with attempts to gut affordable healthcare access for vulnerable populations.”

Click here to see the report from the Office of the Chief Medical Examiner.

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