Wilton is not immune to the impact of drug abuse and overdoses. Tuesday afternoon, officials included a sad statistic as part of an event raising awareness about the opioid epidemic: four known overdoses have occurred so far this year in Wilton, two of which were fatal.

Over the last three years, Wilton has counted 12 known overdoses, five of which resulted in fatalities.

On Tuesday afternoon, Aug. 31, town officials gathered on the steps of Wilton’s Town Hall to draw attention to the local increase in accidental overdoses and overdose deaths, as well as acknowledge those who have died and express support for their families and friends. First Selectwoman Lynne Vanderslice, accompanied by members of Wilton Social Services, and the Wilton Police and Fire Departments, proclaimed it as Overdose Awareness Day.

Vanderslice called the numbers of accidental overdoses and overdose deaths a national public health emergency. “The numbers are truly disturbing, but even more so because so many are young adults.”

In addition to members of Wilton’s emergency response departments, Vanderslice was joined by the town’s Wilton Social Services team as well as Social Services Chair Peg Koellmer. It was an acknowledgement of resources available to the community.

“There are many professionals and non-profit groups within Wilton and Connecticut that are working to help individuals and their families,” Vanderslice told GOOD Morning Wilton. “Today was part of an international effort to raise awareness and let individuals and families know that as a community we acknowledge their experiences and loss and let them know there are resources.”

Vanderslice is hopeful that Wilton can also offer additional proactive resources.

“In October 2019, Wilton held a Day of Recovery and Wellness, spearhead by Rev. Shannon White. It was very impactful for those of us who attended. Following the event, Shannon reached out to a number of us to keep the discussions going with the goal of Wilton achieving recognition as a Recovery Friendly Community. Unfortunately, the pandemic derailed those efforts and Shannon has since moved out of Wilton. My hope is, even without Shannon, those efforts will resume and Wilton will again host a Day of Recovery and Wellness,” Vanderslice said.

Statewide, Gov. Ned Lamont also declared the official day, noting that CT residents are more likely to die from an unintentional drug overdose than a motor vehicle accident. The majority of these deaths are linked to overdose of prescription opioid painkillers and illicit opioids.

According to information released by Lamont this week, both suspected overdoses and deaths due to overdoses continue to rise at or near double-digit rates in Connecticut.

  • The state’s chief medical examiner estimated a statewide 11% increase in suspected overdoses during May 2021 versus May 2020.
  • For Fairfield County, May 2021’s suspected overdoses were estimated as 14% higher than May of 2020 and 19% higher than May of 2019.
  • During 2020, the 1,273 overdose deaths were more than four times the number of deaths eight years ago in 2012. There were 1,159 deaths that included Fentanyl — 83 times the number in 2012.

Below is the proclamation declaring Aug. 31 as Overdose Awareness Day in Wilton:

WHEREAS, accidental overdoses and related deaths are a public health emergency in Connecticut and the United States; and

WHEREAS, next month over 1,000 CT residents or more than 34 residents a day are expected to overdose; and

WHEREAS, next month more than 10% of those overdoses are expected to be fatal; and

WHEREAS, over the last three years 12 known overdoses have occurred in Wilton, 5 of which were fatal and 4 known overdoses have occurred so far this year, 2 of which were fatal; and

WHEREAS, these community members and those across the country were someone’s loved one, and are grieved by a mother or a father, a sister or a brother, an aunt, an uncle, a grandparent, a friend or another;

WHEREAS, in an effort to raise awareness of this public health emergency and remember without stigma those who have died or are currently struggling with addiction and to provide support to and acknowledgement of their families and friends.

NOW, THEREFORE, I, Lynne A. Vanderslice, First Selectwoman of the Town of Wilton, do hereby proclaim August 31, 2021 as

Gov. Ned Lamont declared Tuesday, Aug. 31 as Overdose Awareness Day in Connecticut, and Town of Wilton officials announced they will also observe the day with an event at Town Hall Tuesday afternoon. The now global effort aims to raise awareness of overdoses, reduce the stigma of drug-related deaths, and acknowledge the grief felt by many.