This week Governor Malloy for the third straight year signed into law legislation which he sponsored aimed at curbing the growing opioid crisis in Connecticut. Although laws have been getting tougher on medical doctors and pharmacists in an attempt to stem the flow of new addicts getting hooked on prescription pain killers there seems to be a multitude of the population already hooked on these pills who responded to these new regulations and restrictions on obtaining their prescription pain pill fix by jumping to illegal opioids which have become more potent and less expensive. Obviously, these legislative efforts and in addition all the arrests that Police are making on the streets are not working as the death rate is skyrocketing. In 2012 there were approximately 250 drug overdose deaths in the State of Connecticut. In 2017 despite all these efforts the death rate has increased 4 fold and we are on a track to break 1,000 drug overdose deaths in 2017.
The root cause of this phenomena is that the new legislation and pressure on doctors has made it more difficult for individuals who were hooked on prescription opioids such as oxycodone to get refills or maintain a supply through conventional means. The price on the street for oxycodone has skyrocketed. At the same time prices for heroine have decreased dramatically and the purity has increased significantly. These trends have combined to create a perfect storm wherein an entire generation of opioid users are shifting from abuse of prescription pills to use of illegally obtained heroin on the street.