Congresswoman DeLauro, CT officials hold roundtable on opioid crisis

Health

HAMDEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Two Connecticut Congresswomen held simultaneous roundtable meetings on the opioid crisis Monday morning.

Congresswoman Rosa DeLauro, along with Attorney General William Tong and leading health experts held one roundtable in Hamden. At the same time, Congresswoman Jahana Hayes and Lt. Governor Susan Bysiewicz held a different roundtable on the same topic in Kent.

Around those tables were experts in preventing and treating opioid addiction. The goal in Hamden was to find out if funding is going to the right places.

“What are the programs that working?” asked DeLauro. “Where is the money being best spent, so we can be accountable?”

Opioid deaths in Connecticut have tripled in the last 6 years. More people die from drug overdoses than homicides, suicides and car crashes all put together.

The big reason for that is the rise of fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 100 times more potent than heroin. A tiny amount can kill you, and it is killing people. According to the state medical society, Connecticut went from 14 deaths from Fentanyl in 2012 to 760 last year.

“That’s an increase of almost 5,000%,” Delauro said.

Connecticut’s Attorney General also joined the roundtable in Hamden. He is one of several attorneys general suing the Sackler family and their firm Purdue Pharma, which popularized opioid pain relievers.

The company is based in Stamford, so William Tong says he has seen the Sacklers moving their money out of the company ahead of legal action against the company.

“You may try to declare bankruptcy, but we know that you’ve been pulling billions of dollars out of the company. Those are known as fraudulent conveyances,” Tong said. “You can’t pull money out of the company when you know you’re in trouble, and so Connecticut is on the front lines of clawing that money back.”

The rate of overdose death in Connecticut is almost twice the national average. So, as a percentage of population, we are losing twice as many people to these drugs compared to the average around the country.

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