Federal officials talk with Frontline Recovery advocates on efforts to combat drug addiction in Hartford

Hartford

HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH)– The American Cares Act included $4 million for mental health services. But treating addiction before it leads to overdoses is a challenge plaguing cities and suburbs across the state.

In the first five months of 2020, overdose deaths in Connecticut spiked 20%, a trend that continues.

“The last thing you want to hear from the federal government is we’re here to help,” said Regina LaBelle, acting director of National Drug Control Policy. “I’m from the federal government and I’m here to help.”

LaBelle went to Hartford on Oct. 13 to answer questions and talk about the Biden Administration’s drug policy. LaBelle says it has a new emphasis on recovery.

“For the first time ever we are emphasizing harm reduction. We’re doing that because we recognize 10% of people in this country are in treatment. What do we do for the other 90%,” said LaBelle.

Officials met inside the Hartford Public Library to meet with Frontline Recovery Advocates and hear about the impacts of the overdose epidemic in Connecticut.

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal says he wants federal officials to examine the roles social media plays in addiction.

In Hartford, Mayor Luke Bronin says Connecticut cities are impacted at higher levels.

“We are not going o prosecute our way out of this problem,” said Sen. Blumenthal. “We know that reducing supply is part of the challenge. But that is not alone going to solve this problem.”

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