Officials meet with drug czar nominee after New Haven overdoses

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NEW HAVEN -

Federal, state and local leaders met with the nominee for federal drug czar Monday following a spate of overdoses in New Haven.

Gov. Dannel Malloy, Sen. Richard Blumenthal and New Haven Mayor Toni Harp were among those who met with nominee Jim Carroll.

Carroll is the National Drug Control Policy acting director. He says addressing the addiction crisis is one of the administration's top priorities.

VIDEO: Officials to meet with drug czar nominee after New Haven overdoses

"For the most part, the drugs we're seeing today are coming across the border from Mexico or coming in from Asia," Carroll says. "Usually China with the synthetic drugs and so the efforts we're taking at the national level, the state level and the local level are key."

Carroll also stated a three-step approach to combating the issue, including education and prevention, treatment for those who need it, and law enforcement. He says numbers recently released from the CDC show the drug epidemic killed 72,000 people last year. That's 200 people a day dying from addiction.

Blumenthal says he is asking for specific aid for New Haven after the K2 overdoses.

"These synthetics like K2 so prevalent on the New Haven Green causing near death and addiction are the modern-day killers, and the federal government has to be more than watching and talking, they need to be walking the walk," he says.

As News 12 has reported, 114 people overdosed on K2 on and around the New Haven Green last week. Police believe the synthetic marijuana was laced with another drug called Fubinaca, but say there were no fatalities.

They say John Parker, 53, and Felix Melendez, 37, both of New Haven are facing drug charges. A third person is in federal custody.

Carroll also called Mayor Harp and Gov. Malloy a national example for their work in trying to build a depth of services for the homeless, many of whom are dealing with addiction and mental illness.

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