Overdose victims' families demand action at state Capitol in Hartford
Drug overdoses are up dramatically this year - which is why families of opioid victims rallied in front of the state Capitol in Hartford Monday.
Drug overdoses are up 22% in the state of Connecticut this year.
Anthony Morrissey made the trip from New Milford for his son.
"Our son, Brian Cody, was a beautiful boy. He was 20 years old," he says.
Morrissey is fighting for the state government to pass Brian Cody's Law
, which would expand "community navigators." They are guides who personally lead people through treatment.
"We need 'white glove treatment' for these folks. We need to grab them by the hand and lead them through this process," he says.
Families also want insurance carriers to cover more treatment, "safe injection facilities" for addicts and tougher penalties for dealers.
"How about 'zero tolerance?' What if drug dealing was looked upon the way drunk driving is? Not tolerated," says Lisa Deane, the founder of demandZero
"We're not going to arrest our way out of this epidemic. We're not going to prosecute our way out of substance abuse disorder," says Sen. Richard Blumenthal.
COVID-19 has made in-person treatment harder, but families say it could also have a surprising upside.
"Data sharing, live public data as to where the hot spots are. Why don't we have this for the opioid addiction crisis?" says Dita Bhargava, of Greenwich.
Morrissey says Brian Cody's Law is already working in his hometown.
"My son was found dead in a trap house. That trap house now, a year later, is closed," he says. "And that's because of the work of our community navigator."
Brian Cody's Law is expected to come up next year at the state Capitol.
Monday is International Overdose Awareness Day. A candlelight vigil will be held at 7:30 p.m. at the state Capitol.