Echoes of pandemic isolation continue to impact Connecticut addiction crisis


In June, Connecticut DPH reported that the number of overdoses in the first three months of 2021 was higher than the same period in 2019-2020.

NEW BRITAIN, Connecticut – * Editor’s Note: The above video aired on November 18, 2020 *

Post-pandemic isolation continues to be a setback for Connecticut residents struggling with addiction.

In June, the Connecticut Department of Public Health reported that the number of overdoses in the first three months of 2021 was higher than the same period in 2019-2020.

For the first time in 2019, xylazine / fentanyl combinations were implicated in 71 drug overdose deaths and the numbers continue to rise, according to the DPH Drug Overdose Monthly Report from March 2019-2021.

The report also notes that 141 deaths in 2020 were the result of the lethal combination of xylazine and fentanyl.

Treatment centers like the Farrell Treatment Center in New Britain have increased their treatment options to address the dramatic rise in drug addiction after the pandemic.

“Addiction is a disease of isolation and recovery is a connection program,” said Daniel Millstein, director of addiction services.

Millstein says he has seen a huge increase in overdose-related deaths since the pandemic.

The average percentage of fentanyl-related deaths increased from 82% in 2019 to 85% during the 2020 pandemic. As of March 2021, the percentage of fentanyl-related deaths was already 80%.

“The isolation caused by COVID has just been ruinous for those addicted and fentanyl has just worsened and become widespread,” Millstein said. “You see it in cocaine, in squeezed pills, people think they’re taking benzodiazepines and they’re actually taking fentanyl.”

Millstein describes the current drug use climate as “Russian roulette” because users are not always sure what they are taking.

In light of the recent legalization of recreational marijuana in Connecticut, Millstein is warning residents of the “addiction, anxiety and depression” that constant recreational drug use can cause.

The inpatient and outpatient treatment center offers comprehensive recovery services as well as teletherapy.

For more information on the Farrell Processing Center, Click here.

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