Drug Overdose, The Other Health Emergency
Last Monday at the State Capitol, I joined state officials and advocates to recognize International Overdose Awareness Day. Unfortunately, COVID is not the only health crisis we are dealing with right now. The damage done by the opioid crisis continues to take to many lives and damage families across Connecticut and our nation
Because of the social and emotional toll on state residents due to the pandemic and the job losses, there has been a 22% increase in opioid overdose deaths in 2020. Sadly, even before the pandemic the number of overdoses were increasing after seeing some improvement in 2018. At the 2020 rate, Connecticut will surpass last year’s record of 1,200 overdose deaths.
Many families have been impacted by this deadly disease, to many young lives cut short.
Almost everyone, myself included, has family member or knows of someone effected by this terrible crisis. We need to help as many people as we can, raise awareness to this massive problem that effects our families, neighbors and friends.
On Monday, we listened to stories from families effected by addiction. Both inspirational and alarming sad when they speak of lost love ones, most at such a young age, with what should have been there whole life ahead of them.
We have tried to help over the years, I am proud of some of the legislation I have worked on a bi-partisan bases to solve this health emergency. I commend my fellow legislators and those on the front lines combating the addiction and overdose crisis.
Some of the laws we have past recent years are:
So on Monday we remembered those who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of a drug overdose, we came together to spread the message that overdose deaths are preventable, there is help for those who need it.
For more state and local resources please contact: The Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services has the Prescription Drugs and Heroin Prevention and Treatment program:
More regionally we have: The Hub, the Regional Behavioral Health Action Organization for SW CT www.thehubct.org/covid The Hub CT and Melissa McGarry. Melissa is the project director for TPAUD, Trumbull’s Prevention Partnership www.tpaud.org.
State Representative, Trumbull
HARTFORD- Today at the State Capitol, State Rep. David Rutigliano (R-123) joined state officials and advocates for a press conference in recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day.
Rep. Rutigliano stood with U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal, Governor Ned Lamont, Lieutenant Governor Susan Bysiewicz, Commissioner of the State Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, Ph. D., representatives of the Center for Addiction Recovery and the Greater Hartford Harm Reduction Coalition along with several family members affected by addiction.
Rep. Rutigliano has spent many years in the General Assembly working to pass legislation to combat opioid abuse and addiction. Some of the laws Rep. Rutigliano has championed in recent years are:
"So many families have been impacted by this deadly disease, to many young lives cut short. almost everyone, myself included, has family or knows of someone effected by this crisis. We need to help as many people as we can, raise awareness to this massive problem that effects our family, neighbors and friends. We must give resources for recovery, and continued access to the life-saving NARCAN drug". Rep Rutigliano said
"Today, as we remember those who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of a drug overdose, we come together to spread the message that overdose deaths are preventable, there is help for those who need it. There is still so much to do, " said Rep. Rutigliano. "We are truly fortunate to have many passionate people on board the fight against substance abuse. "
HARTFORD- With the governor calling on all state residents to wear face masks in all public places to curb the spread of the Coronavirus, State Rep. David Rutigliano (R-123) is calling for a repeal of the state sales tax on face masks and other personal protection products, like face shields and latex/rubber gloves.
"It's just wrong that state government is collecting tax revenue from residents on what has become personal protection products that we all need," said Rep. Rutigliano. "State government should NOT be boosting tax collections due to a pandemic and citizens doing their best to maintain public health protocols."
In 2019, Rep. Rutigliano voted against a final state budget document proposed by legislative Democrats and Governor Lamont, which included several new tax increases ($1.75 Billion in total over the two-year budget) including the repeal of the tax-exemption of safety apparel that subjected many pieces of safety gear to state sales tax.
This means that mandated face masks, which clearly fall under the definition of 'safety apparel', are now subject to state sales tax. Here is the list of “safety apparel” – which includes face masks, face shields and gloves.
Rep. Rutigliano said, "To further add insult to the issue facemasks and other person protection products remained taxable even during this year's statewide 'Tax Free Week’.”
TRUMBULL- Last week, State Rep. David Rutigliano (R-123) took a stand against a faulty police accountability measure that he believed was rushed through and did not have a full public vetting and could potentially do more harm than good for communities, like Trumbull, while also opposing federal legislation to eliminate School Resource Officers (SRO) in schools.
Rep. Rutigliano said, "Yes, I support greater transparency and more accountability for our Connecticut law enforcement officers but unfortunately this bill brands all police officers as the problem, when we know vast majority of law enforcement officers are good, well-intentioned, professional officers."
Rutigliano was disappointed he could not support the bill because it contain some good reforms, like; 1) greater transparency when it comes to collective bargaining and public records disclosure; 3) looking to keep better data on minority recruitment of police officers ; 4) studying the feasibility of having licensed social workers assist on certain calls where appropriate ; 5) periodic mental health and drug screenings to make sure we are putting the best officers in the field.
According to Rutigliano, a result of rushing the bill through to process has exposed some major flaws that could potentially make our streets less safe and make it more expensive to live here in Connecticut. Two of the most disturbing sections of bill were the rewriting of laws on qualified immunity for police officers, which would increase expenses on already overburdened municipalities, some use of force standards that may place our officers in immediate danger, and the elimination of some proactive policing measures.
Without having qualified immunity, police officers and towns, like Trumbull that employ them have serious concerns that the additional liability will make officer recruitment and retention more difficult and could potentially be very costly to insure Trumbull's police force. To be clear, even now, willful misconduct by a police officer is not protected by qualified immunity.
According to police, by taking away this indispensable policing tool, we hinder their ability to keep drugs and guns off Trumbull streets.
On subject of School Resource Officers, Rep Rutigliano had this to say:
"Trumbull worked in a bipartisan manner with educational officials, law enforcement and parents to implement a school resource officer program in our local schools and I have heard nothing but good things about the program and how the SROs have provided a positive impact on the overall school environment with a greater sense of security and also permits for a constructive relationship between students and police," said Rep Rutigliano. "I don't support any attempt to eliminate these school resource officers. Furthermore, Trumbull should be able to make their own local decisions on SROs and not have the heavy-hand of the federal government interfere."