State Rep. David Rutigliano (R-123rd District) recently joined state officials and advocates for a press conference in recognition of International Overdose Awareness Day.

“So many families have been impacted by this deadly disease, too many young lives cut short,” he said. “Almost everyone, myself included, has family or knows of someone affected by this crisis.”

Rutigliano, U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, Gov. Ned Lamont, Lt. Gov. Susan Bysiewicz and Mental Health and Addiction Commissioner Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, Ph. D., gathered with representatives of the Center for Addiction Recovery and the Greater Hartford Harm Reduction Coalition, and several families affected by addiction for the event.

Rutigliano said he has worked to pass legislation to combat opioid abuse and addiction during his terms in the State House. Some of the laws Rutigliano has backed in recent years include prohibiting for adult patients initial opioid prescriptions longer than seven days, prohibiting for minors any opioid prescriptions longer than five days and requiring the prescriber to discuss the risks associated with the drug with the patient and a parent or guardian, approving the wide-spread use of naloxone by first responders and requiring the Alcohol and Drug Policy Council’s state plan to include a goal of reducing opioid deaths.

Statewide, there has been a 22 percent increase in opioid overdose deaths in 2020, Rutigliano said. Connecticut is on pace to surpass last year’s record of 1,200 overdose deaths, he said.

“Today, as we remember those who have died or had a permanent injury as a result of a drug overdose, we come together to spread the message that overdose deaths are preventable, there is help for those who need it,” Rutigliano said. “There is still so much to do.”