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Aug. 31: Overdose Awareness Day

Aug. 31: Overdose Awareness Day

The Connecticut State Medical Examiner confirms there were 1,200 accidental drug intoxication deaths in 2019. This figure is up from 1,017 fatalities in 2018.  

Of the 1,200 drug overdose deaths in 2019, 1,127 of the victims had opioids in their system. Of those, 970 had ingested the synthetic drug fentanyl. 

OD deaths have risen significantly in recent years. In 2012, 357 people in Connecticut died from drug overdoses. 

Berlin Police Lt. Steve Solek said in 2019 law enforcement and emergency medical services responded to 17 drug overdoses in town.  

“Five resulted in death,” Solek said. “Four of the deaths were related to opioids; (such as) heroin, fentanyl. The other one was related to cocaine.

“Overall the majority of overdoses we respond to are related to opioids … heroin, fentanyl, oxycodone, or any combination of them.”   

In Berlin, the overdose numbers so far in 2020 include two fatal and seven non-fatal incidents.

Plainville Police Lt. Nicholas Mullins reported that in 2019 there were 28 drug overdoses in town, nine of them fatal. In 2020, so far, there have been a total of 14 drug overdoses, and four were fatal.  

Lt. Jeffrey Sutherland of the Cheshire Police Department reported that town police responded to 11 overdoses in 2019, none fatal. In 2020, there have been five overdoses, and two were fatal.

Monday, Aug. 31 is International Overdose Awareness Day, which aims to raise awareness of overdoses, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths and acknowledge the grief felt by families and friends.

Mary Marcuccio is a family counselor who specializes in working with families impacted by drug addiction.

A former Southington resident who now resides in Florida, Marcuccio has seen firsthand the devastation drugs can unleash on a family. Her only child has been battling addiction for more than 15 years.      

“As terrifying as the death numbers are, they are only a portion of the picture,” Marcuccio said. “There are a plethora of families that deal with the use of drugs, the daily traumas, the near-fatal overdoses, near-fatal suicide attempts, life-threatening health issues, the lieing, stealing, manipulating, the hurts, pains, suffering ...”

“The ‘addict family’ is the bigger picture,” Marcuccio said. “When you look at the cost of addiction, you must include the collateral damage being suffered every day by the drug user himself, his family, his environment, his work, his community.”

Marcuccio’s website, mybottomline.info, offers advice and tips on how to spot drug abuse in a loved one and where to get them the help they need.


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