Heroin Use Becoming An 'Epidemic' In Fairfield County As Deaths Rise

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Two bundles equaling 5.8 grams of heroin was recently seized in a traffic stop by the Fairfield Police Department.
Two bundles equaling 5.8 grams of heroin was recently seized in a traffic stop by the Fairfield Police Department. Photo Credit: Alissa Smith

FAIRFIELD COUNTY, Conn. – With more than 180 deaths from heroin overdoses recorded since January in Connecticut, officials are sounding an alarm on the growing narcotics problem. 

“This dramatic increase of heroin use and abuse in Connecticut is unlike anything we’ve ever seen,” said U.S. Sen. Chris Murphy (D-Conn.). “Our state has lost hundreds more people to heroin use in the last year, but we’re not doing enough to change the way we address this crisis.”

The number of deaths this year already outnumbers the 174 heroin-related deaths recorded in the state in 2012. And the rate of deaths is more rapid than in 2013, when 257 people died of heroin-related causes. Less than three months into the year, the number equals about 70 percent of last year's total deaths.

Fairfield Police Sgt. Sue Lussier blamed the deaths on the spike in heroin use in the area and in the state. Heroin is a cheaper high than prescription pills, she said, making it an increasingly popular alternative for drug addicts.

“When they switch to heroin, it’s because of economy,” Lussier said. One pill of oxycodone sells for $80 on the street, whereas one bag of heroin sells for $4, she said as an example.

Heroin is the second most likely substance to be abused in Connecticut after alcohol, Lussier said.

The drug problem hits more young people, with the greatest concentration of heroin users in the age range of 22 to 32, Lussier said. Many of these users had previously been getting high from prescription medications found in homes, she said.

“Sometimes it’s a catalyst for an individual who can no longer obtain the painkillers to move into the line of heroin,” said State Police Lt. Paul Vance. “It's relatively accessible because it's relatively inexpensive.”

Darien Sgt. Jeremiah Marron agreed that heroin use is becoming a bigger problem in the area and said it leading to crime beyond illegal drug use. 

“Not only is heroin sold and used in Darien, but it’s severely addictive properties are motivating crimes such as burglary, larceny, theft from vehicles, and recently even home invasion,” said Marron. 

The heroin problem isn’t isolated to just Connecticut, though, Vance said. He called the increase in heroin use and sales an “epidemic.” Heroin is even more dangerous to use because it is often laced with fentanyl, which dramatically increases the possibility of overdose, he said.

The Statewide Narcotics Task Force, which taps into local police forces as well as state troopers, works to find and stop heroin and other drugs from getting to the population, he said.

“But it’s a situation we need not only law enforcement, we need parents to be aware, we need people to understand, that abusing prescription drugs is dangerous,” Vance said.

He encouraged residents to dispose of unwanted prescriptions, especially items such as painkillers that can be gateway drugs to even more dangerous and illegal narcotics. 

Most police stations have drop boxes for residents to safely dispose of unused or expired prescription medications, Vance said.

The Darien police posted seven ways to notice if someone could be using heroin: 

  • Sudden behavior changes. 
  • Changes in peer groups. 
  • You find drug paraphernalia.
  • Money troubles.
  • Missing possessions. 
  • Body mutilation. 
  • Drop off in work or school performance.
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Comments (17)

This sounds very alarming. Police visibility must be given emphasis in this community. The authorities must push strong campaigns against the use of prohibited drugs. Strict rules and regulations should prevail in all states to stop this 'epidemic'.

DD you are an admitted druggie. You could have knocked me over with a FEATHER!!!

Conn. ex-governor Rowlands son arrested on drug charge State leader pleads for privacy after pot bust

NEW BRITAIN, Conn. -- Gov. John G. Rowland said Thursday that he hopes the arrest of his 18-year-old stepson on drug charges will be kept as private as possible while his family copes with the matter.

"If anybody has teenagers, you know that you cross your fingers, you hold on tight and get through those years," Rowland said.

Rowland's stepson, Ryan Largay, was charged with possession of less than 4 ounces of marijuana and interfering with police. His friend, 17-year-old Christopher Bosco, was charged with possession of heroin and drug paraphernalia.

The two were taken into custody Monday. They were released on bail.

Largay is the son of Rowland's wife, Patricia Rowland, from a previous marriage

The stepson of former Gov. John G. Rowland died Friday afternoon at St. Mary's Hospital in Waterbury, a hospital spokesman said.

The spokesman said that Ryan P. Largay, 23, died about 3:30, but that he had no information about the cause of death.

Ex-gov. Rowland's Stepson Dies

Police said emergency medical technicians went to Rowland's Middlebury home Tuesday after receiving an anonymous call from the house that Largay was having trouble breathing. Officials said that Largay was unresponsive and was brought a short time later to St. Mary's.

He was the son of the former governor's wife, Patricia Rowland, from a previous marriage.

"We have lost a wonderful young man, after a long illness. He was surrounded by his loving family and we appreciate the love, the prayers and support of so many people," John Rowland said in a written statement late Friday.

Gov. M. Jodi Rell said in a statement, "This is heartbreaking news. The death of a child brings unspeakable grief and my thoughts and prayers are with the Rowland and Largay families on their profound loss."

Word of Largay's death spread Friday night throughout the state Capitol, where the General Assembly was meeting in a special session on energy legislation.

At times of crisis, all political differences are dropped at the Capitol, House Speaker James Amann said.

"We're all family here," Amann said. "Certainly this is a horrible tragedy for the family. The bottom line is you do care about each other when it comes to things like this. My heart goes out to Patty."

After Rowland was elected governor in November 1994, Ryan Largay and his younger brother, Scott, moved into the governor's mansion on Prospect Avenue in 1995 when Rowland took office. The Largay brothers later moved out of the mansion and into a home at 17 Terry Road in Hartford - a cottage, behind the mansion, that the state purchased in August 2001. They continued living there until late June 2004 when the Rowland family left the mansion after the governor's resignation.

Largay had been charged in October 2003 with possession of marijuana after police broke up a party at a residence attached to a motel on the Berlin Turnpike in Newington. He faced similar possession and threatening charges in May 2007 and was placed into an accelerated rehabilitation program, a form of probation.

Information about funeral arrangements was unavailable Friday night.

Dannel Malloy’s interest in decriminalizing marijuana is rooted — at least in part — in his son’s 2007 arrest for possession and distribution of marijuana, one of Connecticut’s leading anti-pot legislators told Patch Monday.

Saying it undermines the anti-drug messages taught to children and causes severe health problems, state Sen. Toni Boucher (R-26) slammed the marijuana decriminalization bill which passed Connecticut’s Senate in a special session Saturday.

After the senate split the vote 18-18, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman cast the tiebreaking vote in the bill's favor. As she cast the tiebreaking vote, Boucher said, Wyman was acting on behalf of Malloy's administration.

“Malloy is promoting this bill," she said. "One of his sons has had serious problems with drugs. [The governor] has a personal interest in this."

Malloy declined to comment.

In November 2007, one of Malloy’s sons, Benjamin, was charged with selling marijuana. At that time, he was given five years’ probation, with three years of jail suspended, according to the Connecticut Department of Justice. In 2009, he was arrested again, this time allegedly attempting to rob a Darien man at gunpoint to steal his marijuana. He was again given five years’ probation, with 10 years of jail suspended, according to the DOJ. What a dirt bag like his father!! And lets not forget all the suspended sentences this dirt bag and his old man managed to arrange. And i am sure the dummy gun grabbers are aware the kid was in possession of a firearm in the commission of a felony. And why is he not in jail as a felon he can not have a gun. Wonder who covered that up and made a deal or two. Sounds like someone did not prosecute his son on gun violations. Only us law abiding people are made felons on malloys watch. Once again Dirt Bag Malloy at his best. Circumventing laws to suite his interests. What a low life dem as all of them are!! Malloy is beyond the lowest of the low!! And as usual a progressive dirt bag DEM!!

The son of Stamford Mayor Dannel Malloy was arrested Wednesday on attempted robbery charges after a report that a victim had been confronted by three armed men, Darien police said Wednesday night.

The arrest came after the mayor's home in the upscale Shippan section of Stamford was searched, which marked the second time that the home on Ocean Drive East had been raided in criminal investigations involving 21-year-old Ben Malloy. The first time was in November 2007 when Ben Malloy was arrested previously on drug charges.

Herion use is very common with the tea party Republicans

"herion"? Boy,that G.E.D. sure didn't cut it.

Yes A Powers You are correct.. The Republicans need to support these drugs coming into this country so the Republican party members can remain messed up.

The Republicans continue to support these drugs coming into this country as they support everything that destroys.

Yes queen aka Dirty Duck we know we know as you have told us about your drug use many many times

Facebook knows a thing or two about queens,dont you Nancy boy?

Trust me I know from experience...

Ironically, this is due to the abuse of OTC pain pills and the harder regulations.

Cheap and easy way for users to not get sick, get a bag of H!

Parents and friends beware, this is a deadly epidemic. Pay attention!

This is a VERY serious issue and needs to be addressed. Not swept under a rug or whispered about behind closed doors. There are towns in MA and ME/VT/NH where there are literally hundreds of addicts in schools. I really hope the powers that be wake up and realize how quickly this spreads. Crime spreads. Prostitution, disease, all of these things come with heroin usage.

Good! Then they won't be robbing people to support their habit!!!

This was for a change a subject that needed to be addresed by Chris,it does give Ct a black eye so lets give him credit for attempting to finger the problem and balme.

but we’re not doing enough to change the way we address this crisis.”

We can look at Himes,Perone,Morris and Fluff and wonder with all the PR they are sucking up where is the funding to comabat the crime itself.Norwalk just had a low level bust,Bridgeport and Stamford is doing its best to combat te problem but you have to question what thh other four are doing.

Timing is great for Chris they have the calender marked its spring its time for the gangs to generate income,not the ones in the CT the ones in NY.They travel by rail come into the cities sell some bulk and leave.

Its been pointed out our reps have diverted money from the transportation budget in Ct for other things,intervention,arrests and extra police is not one of them.

You have to give Chris credit pointing the finger at those who play a good game and do nothing is not one of his strongest attributes.

Its obvious with Norwalks new Mayor his experience was not brought to the office,you woulod think Norwalk would be first to cpme out and war with the trouble that is at its front door.

The Statewide Narcotics Task Force, which taps into local police forces as well as state troopers, works to find and stop heroin and other drugs from getting to the population, he said.

The problem here is simple what Gold coast city or town wants its image crushed at the start of tourism season? who wants to be first?

Be intetesting to know how many of the cities and towns did not return calls in the creation of this article,its a good read its a start we can thank the Daily for stepping out and making it a headline.

We need to point fingers at our State reps in Norwalk,the city is good enough to stand in front of for photo ops and election hoopla yet its not good enough to defend on the floor in Hartford,why is that?

What have they done in preparation for summer for those they are seeking votes from,this type of problem creates crime and diminishes the quality of live for those who trust their back is covered by these men.