WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Chris Murphy (D-Conn.), a member of the U.S. Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee, released the following statement following Chief Medical Examiner Dr. James Gill’s announcement that there have been 539 accidental drug overdose deaths in Connecticut over the first half of the year. The figures include 322 deaths involving fentanyl. If this rate continues, Connecticut will see a projected 1078 overdose deaths in 2017, up from the 917 deaths last year and nearly triple the 357 deaths five years ago.
“Today’s announcement is devastating. The opioid epidemic is ravaging our state, and it’s not slowing down,” said Murphy. “People in Connecticut are counting on us to help end this epidemic. Unfortunately, we’ve only seen lip service from the Trump administration—calling it a crisis but then championing billions of dollars in cuts to Medicaid that would cripple life-saving substance abuse programs that Connecticut families rely on. Republicans and Democrats need to start working together to address this crisis.”
Following the recent report from the Trump administration’s Commission on Combating Drug Addiction and the Opioid Crisis, Murphy and U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal urged action to combat the opioid crisis, including increasing treatment capacity, enforcing parity, expanding access to naloxone, mandating prescriber education, and providing federal funding and tech support to states to enhance interstate data sharing among state-based prescription drug monitoring programs.