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'All victims of this epidemic deserved more': CT observes Overdose Awareness Day

Communities across Connecticut observed International Overdose Awareness Day on Wednesday with vigils, ceremonies and public health events from New Haven to Hartford and beyond.

Speakers at a commemoration event at the state Capitol addressed the crowd in front of a backdrop of 1,531 flags — each representing a person who died of an overdose in Connecticut in 2021.

White flags blanket the grass at The Capitol building in honor of International Overdose Awareness Day.
Dave Wurtzel
Connecticut Public
White flags blanket the grass at the Capitol Building in honor of International Overdose Awareness Day.

“Those flags — every one of them was a human being,” said U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal. “Every one of them had a precious life, and family and loved ones — a future that has been lost. And that loss is all of our loss. We have all been impacted, in one way or another.”

“Life expectancy in the United States of America has dropped more drastically over two years than at any other time in our history,” Blumenthal added.

“In 2012, we had 357 overdose deaths in the state of Connecticut,” said Department of Public Health Commissioner Manisha Juthani. “Over the last 10 years, that number has gone up fivefold.”

Fiona Firine, co-founder of For Cameron, an anti-opioid advocacy organization, spoke out about the importance of stopping the stigma surrounding addiction.

“In the days following [our son] Cameron’s [overdose], the stigma and lack of support we encountered was devastating,” Firine said. “All victims of this epidemic deserved more.”

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