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Press Releases


Gov. Malloy and State Officials Host White House Drug Policy Director for Round Table Discussion on Addiction

Visit Comes After Dozens Overdose on K2 in New Haven Last Week

(NEW HAVEN, CT) – Governor Dannel P. Malloy, Mayor Toni Harp, Senator Richard Blumenthal, and the commissioners of the Connecticut Departments of Mental Health and Addiction Services (DMHAS), Public Health (DPH), and Emergency Services and Public Protection (DESPP) were joined today in New Haven by Jim Carroll, President Trump’s nominee for “drug czar” and the current Deputy Director of the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP), for a roundtable discussion on addiction. New Haven medical, police, and social service providers also were part of the conversation.

The meeting comes after dozens overdosed on K2, a synthetic cannabinoid, last week in New Haven. Many of the individuals who overdosed had to be transported via ambulance to the emergency department from the New Haven Green.

“Upon receiving reports of an unprecedented number of overdoses in the Elm City week, state and local resources banded together to assist the individuals in immediate distress from the dangerous drug being given to at risk individuals,” Governor Malloy said. “Illicit street drugs pose a very real and serious threat to health of individuals. We remain committed and ready to address the addiction crisis we face head on.”

“The series of overdoses that New Haven confronted this last week must help raise awareness that psychoactive substances, such as the synthetic cannabinoids that caused last week’s tragedy, are a growing threat,” Deputy Director Carroll said. “Addiction isn’t limited to one group, gender, or region. And addressing our addiction crisis – whether it’s opioids, cocaine, methamphetamine, or psychoactive drugs – is one of the administration’s top priorities. Together with our state and local partners, we are determined to address this crisis effectively through prevention, treatment and recovery, and law enforcement in order to save lives.”

“The chronic, relapse-intensive nature of Substance Abuse Disorder and its prevalence in American cities demands a coordinated, collaborative, and sustained effort at each level of government to help those afflicted,” Mayor Harp said. “I’m grateful for today’s presence of state and federal officials who can deliver resources and help my administration maximize its efforts to bring relief and recovery to addicts and substance abusers.”

“In my meeting today with Acting Director Carroll, I urged that he seize this historic opportunity as the new federal drug czar to build bipartisan support for real action – new laws and resources that will address a national drug abuse epidemic and public health emergency,” Senator Blumenthal said. “Beginning this week, the Senate will consider appropriations measures for health and labor spending by federal agencies that must provide vastly enhanced resources for treatment as well as prevention of substance abuse disorder. We could also consider legislation to provide law enforcement with new tools for cracking down on the synthetics or analogues like K2 and fentanyl coming from China and Mexico. Now is the time to move beyond more talk to real action. The New Haven Green overdoses – along with 72,000 overdose deaths reported nationwide this past year – demonstrate how real action is vital right now.”

K2 is man-made marijuana, or synthetic cannabinoid, that includes herbs or leafy materials sprayed with chemicals to mimic the effect of marijuana. In 2012, the sale of synthetic cannabinoids was banned nationally. While many individuals believe that K2 is safe, there have been numerous cases of serious reactions and overdoses related to it.

“DMHAS appreciates that state, local and federal partners are working to find solutions to address this public health crisis,” DMHAS Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon said. “During a crisis like this it is important to remember that a range of substance use treatment options are available. These options can lead to long-term recovery.”

“Last week’s overdose event in New Haven is a stark reminder of the dangers posed by any drug purchased or given away on the streets and the strain an event like this can put on our first responder and hospital ED systems,” DPH Commissioner Raul Pino said. “DPH was ready and proud to support New Haven’s admirable and successful efforts to save each and every person who overdosed.”

“Whether it is a single incident or the underlying epidemic, the public’s safety and wellbeing is a concern – and a commitment – shared by both state and local police agencies and our federal partners,” DESPP Commissioner Dora Schriro said. “This past week’s situation in New Haven underscored again how one or more bad batch of an illicit substance could place so many people at risk, and how the collaboration of law enforcement, health, and mental health and addiction services agencies at every level of government can help to promote safety and sobriety in every community across the country. Today’s conversations with ONDCP Deputy Director Carroll are most welcome. They help to highlight how widespread the problem is and to explore how, working together, we can address one of the most difficult of human conditions.”

Information on available substance use disorder treatment can be found at

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