NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — A spike in overdose deaths has prompted several communities to put out alerts.
“What we’re seeing now is that people that are taking one drug that’s actually tainted with something else,” said East Haven Fire Department Chief Matthew Marcarelli.
Just in the last week, East Haven’s fire chief Matthew Marcarelli said there have been four suspected non-fatal overdoses in town.
“We spent about $5,000 last year in Narcan alone,” Marcarelli said. “That’s a large part of our EMS budget, but it goes a long way to save lives.”
The town’s police department shared information from the Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) online.
According to the state Department of Public Health, there have been 16 fatal overdoses reported over a two-week period in East Haven, New Haven, Hamden, Milford, Meriden, and North Branford. About 60 percent of those cases were crack cocaine and cocaine-related overdoses.
“Substances that are out there right now are risky,” said Connecticut Department of Public Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani. “If you use fentanyl test strips, that’s at least a way you can know what you’re using has fentanyl in it. Even if you don’t use it, the chances that something has fentanyl is pretty high. That’s why the message is please keep Narcan around.”
There are organizations across the state working on the ground to get resources to those who are struggling.
“We’re always going out in pairs, sometimes three, engaging areas that have had a lot of homelessness, a lot of overdoses, and really trying to engage with people out on the streets,” said John Labieniec, crisis response team coordinator for COMPASS.
“Nobody wants to end up on a gurney in the hospital, nobody wants to be behind bars, nobody wants to be sleeping on the street. They just don’t know where to turn,” Labieniec said. “When you’re ready for help, we’re here. We’ll walk with you through that journey.”