A Drug Crisis Task Force is being created by the regional planning group which spans from Sherman down to Stamford. The Western Connecticut Council of Governments was called on by Danbury Mayor Mark Boughton and other chief elected officials in the area to address the heroin and opiate addiction which has risen to epidemic levels.
There were 257 heroin-related deaths in Connecticut in 2013 according to a report from the state medical examiner's office. The report said that was an increase of nearly double from the previous year. The task force would better leverage the resources in Western Connecticut to respond to the crisis, and raise awareness about the issue. Those resources include law enforcement, addition specialists and medical professionals.
At the City Council meeting this week, Boughton said that a unified comprehensive approach to tackling the substance abuse issue will allow all towns in the region to send the same message. The task force will likely only have nine members. The state, substance abuse counselors and related nonprofits will be part of the discussion. The task each of the police chiefs from the 25 town region as well as the Fairfield County Association of Chiefs of Police.
Creation of the task force will likely by on the WCCOG's October meeting agenda for final ratification. Boughton says the great thing about WCCOG being in charge of this is that the organization has the support staff and resources which individual towns don't have.