We created Connecticut Drug Epidemic to become your platform, your voice. First, we wanted to build a place where you could view local and national stories related to the drug epidemic. Furthermore, we wanted to show you current drug epidemic statistics from Connecticut. Finally, we want you to find resources to help yourself or your loved one.
We will also feature original reporting. We want to help educate you about this crisis. Above all, this is a place where you can share your stories about how the drug epidemic impacts you personally. If you want to share your story with us, or have a tip and you’d like us to investigate, please contact us here.
The reality is everyone knows someone affected by this epidemic. Whether they struggle with their addiction or are concerned about an addict they know, the impact is undeniable. Additionally, we are losing people we love at an alarming rate. And we are not doing enough to help our residents.
Before we try to fix the problem, we need to understand where this problem began. Almost all drug related deaths in our state involve one or several opioids. Once thought of as one of those obscure drugs that members on the fringe of our society used, it has now become commonplace in our every day life. So how did we get here? Let’s take a brief look at the history of how opioids became so dominate in our society.
Origins of the Drug Epidemic
For many of us, the origins of this battle began in a place we trusted – our doctors’ offices. Maybe we had a back injury or suffered from chronic pain and we just wanted to feel better – more like ourselves so we could function ‘normally’ again. For some of us, it began as experimenting with prescription medication as a teenager because we were just looking to have a good time. We found these pain relievers in our medicine cabinets that our parents had and thought we’d try a little. We never wanted to become addicted to a substance that would someday grow to control every aspect of our lives.
In 1996 the pharmaceutical company Purdue Pharma introduced a new, “safe” pain reliever, OxyContin. The company pushed the drug to doctors. They sold it as a pain medication with very low risk of addiction that was unlikely to create a tolerance. This fit the agenda of a small segment of the medical community. These doctors felt their colleagues were under-treating patients with chronic pain. They argued that doctors were too conservative in treating pain, and therefore many people needlessly suffered as a result. Purdue Pharma also spent a lot of money backing medical conferences and speaking engagements that addressed pain management. Likewise, at those events, they recruited medical professionals to serve on Purdue’s speaker’s bureau.
With this growing movement advocating that the medical community be more liberal in treating pain, and the introduction of a “safe” opioid pain reliever, a perfect storm was born. Many argue that Purdue Pharma knew how addictive OxyContin was from the very beginning and that they wanted people to become addicted so they’d have a steady flow revenue. Regardless of whether or not this was intentional, we are now facing a drug epidemic that is distorting who we are, how we live and claiming far too many lives.
The truth is opioids are an effective treatment of pain. But they work best for acute pain. Most importantly, doctors should only prescribe them to treat pain for a short period of time. Long term use always leads to addiction. As you can see, they are disastrous when used for chronic pain management.
People also build a tolerance to opioids over a period of time. This is the second major issue with using opioids for pain management. Your initial prescribed dose works fine for a short period of time. But then, it stops working and you need more of it to combat the pain. However, you need more not only to function, but to avoid withdrawal symptoms.
Fighting the drug epidemic
Solving this crisis will not be easy. Our efforts begin with raising awareness. To that end, we founded Connecticut Drug Epidemic as a clearinghouse of data and news. We’ll curate local, regional and national news to deliver the full scope of this crisis.
More than that, we’ll explore with greater depth events that local news prefers avoiding. Our original reporting will include not just the facts, but the context. But it won’t just be us. We know the Connecticut drug epidemic impacts countless lives. For that reason we have created a page for you to share your story.
We set up a resources page with links to places where addicts and loved ones of addicts can get help. Additionally, if you want to help others, these groups are a great starting point. But that is all they are. As shown above, we have much work to do. But we are ready to do what it takes to reverse the trend.