HARTFORD, Conn. – The meeting rooms in the Legislative Office Building in Hartford, especially this time of year as the state legislature races toward its session deadline, are generally filled with loud, boisterous, often confrontational conversations.
But that wasn’t the case Thursday at a forum on the opioid and heroin crisis sponsored by the Commission on Children.
Speaker after speaker told stories of their own addiction battle or about losing loved ones, mostly young people, to opioid and heroin addiction while legislators, law enforcement, and medical officials and others in the audience listened quietly, intently, many wiping tears from their eyes.
Lisa Cote Johns’ son, Christopher, died at age 33 on Oct. 2, 2014. He died from a heroin overdose. She told the forum that “the system had failed” her son, who struggled for years with addiction.
“He begged for a program that would help him,” Johns said. “But there were never enough beds available. We can’t have kids waiting to get a bed,” she continued. “No mother should have to wear their kid’s ashes around their neck,” Johns told the hushed forum audience.
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