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Echo of pandemic isolation continues to impact addiction crisis in Connecticut

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

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. — *Editor's Note: The video above aired on November 18, 2020*

Isolation post-pandemic continues to be a set back for Connecticut residents struggling with addiction.

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

For the first time in 2019, xylazine/fentanyl combinations were involved in 71 drug overdose deaths and the numbers continue to increase, according to the DPH Drug Overdose Monthly report of 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 combat the tremendous increase in substance abuse post-pandemic.

“Addiction is a disease of isolation and recovery is a program of connection,” said Daniel Millstein, Director of Addiction Services.

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

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

“The isolation caused by COVID has just been ruinous for people with addiction and fentanyl has just become worse and more widespread,” Millstein said. “You are seeing it in cocaine, in pressed pills, people are thinking they are taking benzodiazepines and they are actually taking fentanyl.”

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

In light of Connecticut’s recent legalization of recreational marijuana, Millstein warns residents of the “dependence, anxiety, and depression” that consistent use of the recreational drug can cause.

The in-patient and out-patient treatment center offers full-service recovery as well as teletherapy.

For more information about the Farrell Treatment Center, click here.

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