7/24/2014, Connecticut heroin deaths ‘skyrocket’ in 2014
At least 151 people died of opioid overdoses in Connecticut during the first six months of the year, according to the latest available figures from office of the chief medical examiner… All but one of the overdose victims in Torrington this year were male, with ages ranging from 22 to 49.
The spike in fatal heroin overdoses led several city officials and community members to form the Litchfield County Opiate Task Force, which regularly holds roundtable discussion in the city on the issue. Members include Torrington Mayor Elinor Carbone, Torrington Police Department Chief Michael Maniago and Maria Coutant-Skinner, executive director of the McCall Foundation, a substance abuse treatment center in Torrington.
A methadone clinic was scheduled to open in the city by late July in an 11,837-square-foot facility on Commercial Boulevard. The proposal of the clinic was mired in controversy in 2013, as many residents felt it would bring out of town opioid addicts to the city.
Yeah, don’t give methadone to drug addicts — give it to chronic pain patients on Medicaid, instead.
The rising number of deaths from opioid overdoses is devastating our communities,” Esty said.
Illegal heroin and prescription opioids — it appears they are now one and the same.
The figures released this week include deaths from heroin and fentanyl use — 129 people died of heroin-related intoxication, while 22 were non-heroin- related opioid deaths that included fentanyl. A majority of the accidental deaths resulted from the mixture of several drugs, including mixing heroin or fentanyl with cocaine, alcohol or prescription drugs. Some victims used all three or four subgroups, while some of the accidental deaths included a combination of heroin and fentanyl.
No mention of Vicodin or Xanax? But always, always, a mention of alcohol. Now, how many of these people were chronic pain patients? And how many had been without access to health care and/or pain management? How many had mental health problems? All these statistics ever tell us is which drugs were involved… like the only thing to blame were the drugs.
Last year, 257 people died of accidental drug deaths involving heroin, and 109 people died of heroin use alone, according to figures released by the chief medical examiner, Dr. James R. Gill. The latest 2014 numbers are staggering when compared to figures from 2012, when 174 of accidental drug deaths involving heroin were recorded by the office for the entire year. That year, 86 people died of heroin use alone. So far this year, 43 of the accidental deaths have been from heroin use alone.
Marisa Edleberg, a medical legal death investigator at the medical examiner’s office, is one of 14 investigators at the office that issues death certificates and views bodies at suspicious death scenes like homicides, suicides and accidents. She said her office is working with other state agencies to investigate the root of the issue, which her office suspects derives from painkiller abuse. She said she is hoping the state can create a public awareness campaign to remind dealers of the criminal prosecution they face when caught.
Wow, from painkiller abuse to criminal prosecution of dealers, without even missing a beat… impressive.
“Heroin is cheaper,” Edleberg said. “So you have so-called normal people starting on painkiller — whether by prescription or not — maybe running and turning to heroin.”
She doesn’t point to any proof, just suppositions. And of course the media doesn’t investigate stories anymore, so her words are just taken as true.
4/29/2014, CT lawmakers join war on heroin, painkillers
“The question after this hearing is, ‘Are we going to sweep this under the rug again?’” said Rep. Ben Lujan, D-N.M…
Federal studies show that about 80 percent of heroin users began their addiction to opiates by abusing prescription drugs.
Well, if the federal government says it’s true, then it must be true…
Several Connecticut lawmakers have jumped on the issue, which came to national attention after the death of a drug overdose earlier this year of actor Phillip Seymour Hoffman.
Methinks Mr. Hoffman would be very unhappy to see how his death is being used in the drug war.
At the Energy and Commerce Committee hearing, Joseph Rannazzisi, a deputy assistant administrator at the Drug Enforcement Agency, said federal health and law enforcement officials expected abuse of Zohydro to begin in the Appalachian region, “and spread out” in the same way as the oxycodone epidemic.
So, Mr. DEA/Chicken Little, is that what’s happening?
“Given their potency and ease of abuse, we have little doubt that pure opioid products may lead more Americans to addiction, some even to heroin,” Leahy and Blumenthal wrote. “As safer, abuse-deterrent opioids are approved, the FDA should act swiftly to remove any older, less safe versions.”
Okay, more restrictions for access aren’t enough — some politicians want to remove old versions of pain pills… you know, the ones that work.
In addition, Senate Health, Employment, Labor and Pensions Committee Chairman Tom Harkin, D-Iowa, and the top Republican on the panel, Sen. Lamar Alexander of Tennessee, have formed a bipartisan Prescription Drug Abuse Working Group, and invited other lawmakers to join their efforts to fight addiction.
Now that the drug war against marijuana is starting to subside, it looks like the DEA found a new enemy (and funding source) in prescription drugs.
Man, this sucks…