Litchfield County police battling drug overdose epidemic

In one week, there were 12 overdoses reported, two of which were fatal.

TORRINGTON, Conn. — Litchfield County is currently experiencing a spike in overdoses.

“It can last a week, a couple of days, two weeks, it’s typically having something to do with the supply of substances or narcotics that come into the area,” said Tom Narducci, administrator director of behavioral health at Charlotte Hungerford Hospital.

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From June 28 to July 5, there were a dozen overdoses reported, two of them fatal. It’s triggered what’s called a “spike alert” which means there have been more than three overdoses in a span of 24 hours.

When this happens, the Litchfield County Opiate Task Force responds. They reach the community through messaging to make them aware of the spike but also, immediately go to them with help.

“We mobilized every resource available to be able to make sure that people knew that supports were out there and that they had options available to them,” said Maria Coutant-Skinner, CEO of the McCall Center for Behavioral Health and co-chair of the task force.

That includes their mobile van which makes stops in different towns, offering things like Narcan, fentanyl test strips, or help with finding treatment.

“We have people to be able to respond to that area and offer supports, harm reduction resources, treatment resources,” Coutant-Skinner said.

Sometimes those people know firsthand how important having those resources can be.

Traci Eburg is an emergency overdose responder, a place she’s been able to get to after overcoming addiction and losing her own loved ones to overdoses.

“I know that dark lonely place that they’re in that I was in. I sort of want to be like that beacon of light at the end of a long, dark, dark tunnel,” she said.

The opioid epidemic, reaching all corners of the state and the country.

In 2021, more than 108,000 people died of drug overdoses in the US according to the CDC.

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“The opiate epidemic was a public health crisis prior to covid was the biggest thing to hit this country in decades,” Narducci said.

For people like Dontay Gorham who is 17 years old and now works helping others, the most important thing for people to know is that recovery is possible.

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“I was a puzzle and people put me back together. They didn’t put me together by forcing pieces in they put me back together by working with me as a team. Showing me that I’m not alone,” Gorham said.

If you or a loved one needs help, you can contact the 24/7 access line at 1-800-563-4086. You can also reach the Litchfield County Opiate Task Force’s addition resource line at 860-256-8111. More information on the task force including resources can be found here.

Gaby Molina is a reporter and anchor at FOX61 News. You can be reached at mmolina@fox61.com. Follow her on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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