HARTFORD, Conn. (WTNH) — Lawmakers and advocates gathered in Hartford on Wednesday to discuss new legislation to fight the opioid crisis in Connecticut.
One of the proposed solutions was to establish more harm reduction centers. These centers are supervised locations where individuals can consume drugs acquired in other places.
John Lally is the executive director of “Today I Matter,” a nonprofit organization established in memory of his son, Timothy Lally. Timothy Lally lost his battle to opioid addiction seven years ago. The organization’s mission is to reduce the stigma and shame associated with mental illness.
“One pill turns into two pills.. turns into 10 pills,” John Lally said. “Here’s what we’re talking about people. That’s what we have to focus on. These are lives, these are real people.”
The organization is supporting the potential legislation, to prevent other Connecticut families from experiencing what his family went through.
“What we’ve done has not helped. We need to try something else,” John Lally said.
State Sen. Saud Anwar (D-District 3) is leading the charge in support of harm reduction centers.
“You do not need to lose a loved one to stand here. You need to stand here and say this is enough,” Anwar said. “It’s a very common sense approach and it really works, and it’s not like we are reinventing the wheel, it’s truly effective.”
Similar centers in New York City have saved the public millions of dollars and saved hundreds of live from overdoses. These facilities can also connect those struggling with addiction to health resources while reducing strain on medical services.