by Kimberly James
Connecticut Senate Republicans are proposing measures to help stem the tide of drug overdose deaths, particularly from fentanyl.
Senate Republican Leader Kevin Kelly, R-Monroe, told the The Center Square the opioid epidemic is a public health and safety crisis in the state.
“It has destroyed lives and taken the lives of far too many; illicitly manufactured fentanyl has caused this crisis to explode even further,” Kelly said. “Deaths from overdoses, and particularly overdoses from fentanyl, are increasing at alarming rates.”
Kelly reported that of the 1,374 lives lost in Connecticut to overdoses in 2020, 84% involved fentanyl, a tripling of the percentage of deaths involving the drug over the past five years.
A Connecticut child died recently after ingesting fentanyl in school. Forty bags were found in the school and 100 more bags were found in the child’s home.
“Combating the opioid crisis and the deadly nature of fentanyl requires a comprehensive approach with continued support for substance abuse treatment, access to lifesaving measures, and strong penalties for the trafficking of such a deadly substance,” Kelly said. “Fentanyl is a deadly poison and it must be treated as such.”
Senate Republicans have proposed a three-part plan that includes increasing penalties for selling fentanyl, supporting schools with guidance and access to Naloxone, and investing in awareness and safety and safeguarding national opioid settlement funds to ensure they are used for fighting addiction.
“Fentanyl kills at a far greater rate and with far more potency than other narcotics,” Kelly said. “Fentanyl is up to 50 times more powerful than heroin. It is deadly in even the smallest of quantities. The pervasiveness of drugs in our state, at a time when fentanyl presence is growing, is worsening this issue.”
– – –