Connecticut is witnessing a tragic epidemic of unintentional drug overdose fatalities, many attributed to illicit opioids, fentanyl, and stimulants. This crisis has reached catastrophic levels, tearing apart families and communities. In 2022, these devastating substances claimed the lives of 1,452 individuals in this state, leaving behind a wake of heartbreak and loss.
Many of us have witnessed the heartbreak of losing a loved one to the opioid crisis, adding a profound layer of personal tragedy to this heartbreaking statistic. The pain of seeing someone you care about suffer or, tragically, not being able to save them is an experience that has touched far too many lives. As a professional registered nurse, mother, community member and educator, I cannot stress enough how urgent the situation is.
Another devastating reality is that the opioid and fentanyl crisis in Connecticut has begun to see a startling rise in infant fatalities due to overdoses. A recent report from the Office of the Child Advocate, an organization dedicated to safeguarding the welfare of Connecticut’s children, revealed that between 2019 and 2022, 8.2% of unnatural deaths among infants and toddlers under three were attributed to this life-claiming drug, a cause that had never been recorded prior to 2019.
A research letter on national trends in pediatric deaths from fentanyl identified that the drug was involved in a staggering 37.5% of fatal pediatric opioid poisonings from 1999 to 2021, accounting for 5,194 out of 13,861 deaths nationally. The opioid crisis among adults significantly affects children’s safety, health, and overall welfare. Infants and toddlers risk unintentionally ingesting fatal opioids or fentanyl or touching surfaces contaminated with residue and then putting their hands in their mouths. Even a minuscule amount of fentanyl can be lethal for adults, not to mention the extreme danger it