Connecticut health officials warn of spike in fentanyl-laced drug overdoses
The United States hit a grim milestone in the opioid crisis and health officials say one drug is driving the increased deaths seen in Connecticut.
An estimated 100,000 Americans died in the last year from overdoses. The Department of Public Health says there were 128 deaths related to fentanyl in Fairfield County alone last year.
Health officials say the driver behind this epidemic is fentanyl and even the smallest dose can kill a person.
Health officials also say the pandemic has exacerbated the opioid crisis in the United States.
The nonprofit Shatterproof says fentanyl is causing significant harm, especially since it's hidden in other drugs.
"Not only is this a turn for the worst in turns of overdose deaths, it's also the way it's happening, which is because fentanyl can be anywhere. And because it's so deadly we're often finding people who don't know they're using a drug that could potentially kill them from an overdose," said Chief Policy Officer for Shatterproof Kevin Roy.
According to Shatterproof, there was a 30% increase in opioid deaths in two years. In Connecticut, there was a 4.4% increase from April 2020 to April 2021.
"We are absolutely worried this will get worse before it gets better because we've seen that over the last few years. We went from 70,000 deaths in 2019 to now 100,000 deaths," said Roy.
Police departments are on high alert. Watertown Police Department say there's been several incidents involving the illegal purchase of marijuana that was laced with fentanyl. The drug is also 80- to 100-times stronger than morphine.