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Courtney, Blumenthal Host the Director of National Drug Control Policy and Connecticut Families During a New London Roundtable on Heroin and Opioid Abuse

February 16, 2016
Press Release
During the roundtable discussion, officials heard from families that have experienced opioid and heroin addiction firsthand, as well as from local law enforcement officials and community activists

WASHINGTON, D.C. —Today, Congressman Joe Courtney (CT-02) and Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) concluded a two-day opioid and heroin abuse summit by hosting Michael Botticelli, Director of National Drug Control Policy, local elected officials and law enforcement, as well as Connecticut families for a roundtable discussion on drug abuse treatment and prevention. The roundtable took place at Lawrence+Memorial hospital in New London where there has recently been a spike in the number of patients suffering from opioid and heroin overdoses.

“I was struck this evening by the sincerity and earnestness of the families that came to share their personal experiences dealing with addiction and loss in their lives,” said Courtney. “As we continue to hear about the increasing number of overdoses and deaths attributed to opioid and heroin abuse, it is important that we do not forget that the people being struck down have families and friends who love them. It is beyond unacceptable that we are now losing 74 people per day on average to overdoses caused by prescription painkillers and heroin. This has flat-out become a public health emergency and we need to start treating it that way at the highest levels of government. I am grateful to Director Botticelli for taking the time to travel to eastern Connecticut to meet with our constituents and hear about the specific issues with addiction and drug abuse that our region is confronting.  I will continue to work with the Director once he returns to Washington to make sure that we are providing states and local communities with the resources they need to turn the tide of this epidemic before even more lives are lost.”

“Heroin and opiate abuse is a deadly public health disaster destroying lives and families across Connecticut and nationwide—a public health hurricane that warrants the same urgency we grant to other natural disasters and emergencies,” said Blumenthal. “Combatting this epidemic demands leadership across all sectors, backed by an immediate emergency funding—an effort I am proud to be leading in the Senate. Over the past several months, in communities across Connecticut, I have heard from doctors, substance abuse experts, mental health professionals, law enforcement, families who have lost loved ones to overdose, and individuals in recovery all demanding concrete, comprehensive action to end this scourge. As the White House advances its campaign to combat this crisis, I am pleased to be working with Director Botticelli to ensure those voices help lead and carry this battle.”  

Botticelli was sworn in as the Director of National Drug Control Policy at the White House in February 2015 after being nominated by President Obama and unanimously confirmed by the U.S. Senate. As Director of National Drug Control Policy, Botticelli leads drug policy efforts for the Obama Administration with a focus on innovations in prevention, criminal justice, treatment, and recovery. Botticelli has been in long-term recovery from a substance use disorder himself for more than two decades. He has been a champion for millions of Americans who continue to face substance abuse disorders and are working toward recovery.