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School, Firehouse in Tolland Show Foundation Problems


Signs of crumbling foundations were found at two public buildings —a firehouse and school— in Tolland, officials said. 

Birch Grove Primary School and Fire Station 140 on Crystal Lake Road both showed cracks characteristics of crumbling foundations, according to a public buildings review, the Journal Inquirer reported. 

Town Manager Steven Werbner said the school is expected to take core samples and follow up with an engineer, but since the fire station is less extensive, town staff will be monitoring and taking monthly photographs.

Werbner and the building official both said Birch Grove and Fire Station 140 continue to be safe for occupancy. 

In July 2015, NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters broke the story about dozens of homeowners in Hartford, Tolland and Windham Counties who discovered their concrete foundations are deteriorating. The homes with faulty basements were all built between the early 1980s and the early 2000s and most began to show signs of deterioration between ten and 20 years after construction.

The NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters investigation was the catalyst for the State of Connecticut to launch its own multi-agency probe into the cause and scope of the problem. In a series of initial reports, the NBC Connecticut Troubleshooters reported pyrrhotite, a naturally-occurring iron sulfide mineral, as the likely root of the foundation issues.

Armed Men Rob West Hartford Bank: Police


Police are looking for two men that robbed a bank in West Hartford Saturday morning.

The suspects entered the Santander Bank at 1040 Boulevard around 9 a.m. pointing guns at the tellers, according to police.

The bank had just opened and no one was hurt, police said.

Witnesses told police they saw the two men running northwest behind the bank towards Fairview street.

The men got away with an undisclosed amount of money, police said.

Both West Hartford police and the FBI are investigating.

Anyone with information on the robbery is asked to call West Hartford police.

Photo Credit: West Hartford Police

Summer Weather Delays Wine Harvest


Crews at Gouveia Vineyards in Wallingford were busy putting up nets around the white grapes to protect the crop from birds on Friday.

This annual chore is a sure sign the fruit is getting sweeter and harvest is right around the corner, however, it’s not happening as quickly this year as winemakers would like.

"We’re thinking about two weeks behind right now," said Maryann Houde, the winemaker and manager at Goeveia.

Below average temperatures and above average rainfall this summer have slowed down the growth of some grapes in Connecticut. 

"Ideally, we usually harvest about the middle of September, the second week or so. We’re thinking about the fourth week this year," Houde explained.

She said they likely won’t be able to harvest red wine grapes until October, which introduces the fear of frost.

"If there’s a fear of frost then we’re frantically out here picking the grapes," said Houde.

At Lockwood Farm in Hamden, the grapes are on schedule.

"They’re growing like crazy here," said Joan Bravo a research technician for the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station.

But, Bravo, who tends to the grape crop added, "We’ve had more disease this year than in the past."

She said they didn’t have to deal with diseases as much during last year’s drought. 

Back at Gouveia, crews have been working diligently to check the leaves for the telltale signs of spotting and disease caused by the high humidity earlier this summer.

"We do need some rain. Rain is good, but not too much rain," explained Houde.

Last year, thirsty birds were the culprit, gobbling up the grapes during the drought. This year, there are more grapes and Houde says that means the harvest will be worth the wait.

"This year’s much much better as you can see on the vines," she said.

The vineyard expects to harvest 45 tons of grapes this season. That’s about average, but far more than was harvested last year.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Julian Edelman Injures Knee in Pats' 30-28 Win Over Lions


There was plenty to like from the starters in the Patriots’ 30-28 victory over the Detroit Lions for their first win of the preseason, although none of it means a thing if Julian Edelman did in fact tear his ACL.

Edelman was off to a typical start by his standards, with three catches for 52 yards on the first and only drive he played. But his third and final catch, which went for 14 yards, ended horrifically when his right knee buckled without contact at the Detroit 14-yard line.

An MRI on Edelman’s right knee is schedule for today.

The Patriots would score two plays later on a quick hook from Tom Brady to Chris Hogan, who moved in motion to the slot to Brady’s right.

New England’s offense showed even without Edelman, there’s not much that can slow it down. But the fact remains that without Edelman, who averaged more yards per game (99.1) than any wide receiver in the NFL from Week 10 on last season (including playoffs), an adjustment period will be needed for Brady and Co.

With that in mind, here’s a look at some other notable performers from last night’s game in the Motor City…

Brady, Hogan lead offense

Among qualified receivers, Hogan’s 17.89 yards per catch were second in the NFL last season, just percentage points behind DeSean Jackson of the Washington Redskins for the top spot.

Hogan caught four passes for 70 yards vs. the Lions, right in line with last season’s averages.

He caught two touchdowns, on consecutive offensive plays for the Patriots. After breaking the game’s scoring open, New England’s defense forced a turnover on Detroit’s very first play from scrimmage. With the ball at the Lions’ 32-yard line, Brady hit Hogan on and out-and-up route to give the Patriots a 13-0 lead just 3:23 into the game.

Brady placed the ball perfectly between Detroit cornerback Nevin Lawson and safety Glover Quin, who was late providing help on the play.

Brady finished 12 of 15 for 174 yards and the two touchdowns, but threw an interception on what wound up being his final throw of the night.

Quin came up with the ball in the end zone for the Lions on what was either an overthrow by Brady, or a misunderstanding by Hogan, who appeared to slow up as he approached the goal line.

“We’ll learn from them,” Brady said of the interception, as well as a few other mistakes. “It’s always good to calibrate where you’re at. Not everything’s going to be perfect all the time; you take the lessons you learn from the preseason game and try to apply them in a couple of weeks when it really matters.”

Up and down night for secondary

Stephon Gilmore was nearly flawless for the Patriots, his biggest moments coming on a pair of third downs early on in the game.

On a third-and-4 from the Detroit 27-yard line, Lions quarterback Matthew Stafford connected with rookie wide receiver Kenny Golladay on a drag route. Gilmore temporarily lost Golladay through a screen set across the middle, but maintained the correct angle of pursuit and tackled Golladay in the open field short of the first down marker.

Gilmore broke up a pass intended for Golladay on a third-and-7 for Detroit early in the second quarter, helping the Patriots maintain what was then a 24-0 lead.

Malcolm Butler was certainly better than his lackluster performance vs. Houston a week ago, but was again the victim of a touchdown his way in man coverage. Stafford found Marvin Jones up the right sideline for a 23-yard score with 2:43 to go in the second quarter for the Lions’ first score of the night.

Butler had two positive players for the Patriots as well, however. He stripped the ball from Golden Tate on Detroit’s very first play from scrimmage, and later tipped a ball which was intercepted by Eric Rowe.

Rowe gave up a completion of 22 yards to Tate on the play prior to Marvin Jones’ touchdown.

Fumble recovery aside, it was a rough night for Richards. A second round pick of the Patriots in 2015, his spot on the roster moving forward continues to appear tenuous at best. Richards missed a tackle on Stafford’s 18-yard touchdown pass to Dwayne Washington, and he also slipped while in pursuit of Ameer Abdullah on a play that went for 14 yards.

Another solid night for pair of undrafted free agents

Adam Butler and Harvey Langi each had solid games while seeing plenty of time with New England’s starting defense.

Butler hurried Stafford on his errant throw which was picked off by Rowe and had another tackle for a loss on Theo Riddick.

Langi, who is getting closer and closer to “lock” status on the 53-man roster, showed up in multiple phases of the game once again. He stuffed Lions punt returner Jamal Agnew at his own 9-yard line on special teams and had a pressure which resulted in a sack for Alan Branch while playing on the defensive line.

Search for backup tackle continues

Cameron Fleming did nothing to help his cause as a reserve offensive tackle for the Patriots behind Nate Solder and Marcus Cannon – and that’s assuming Solder’s health for the team’s regular season opener on Sept. 7 vs. the Kansas City Chiefs.

Fleming allowed a pair of quarterback pressures, once on Brady in the first half and once on Jimmy Garoppolo in the second.

LaAdrian Waddle struggled in the preseason game vs. Jacksonville and has since missed time with a concussion, while rookie Antonio Garcia is yet establish himself thanks to some injures of his own. The Patriots may have no choice but to keep Fleming.

Gillislee shines in debut

Newcomer Mike Gillislee made up for lost time in his first action of the preseason.

The restricted free agent via Buffalo carried the ball eight times for 38 yards, scoring a touchdown and adding a two-point conversion on the same score. His touchdown and conversion were his first two touches as a Patriot.

Gillislee, 26, led the NFL in yards per carry amongst qualified runners last season (5.7 yards per rush).

Garoppolo, D.J. Foster engineer game-winning drive

The Patriots offense looked downright pedestrian in the second half once the starters left the game – it had three straight three-and-outs to open the third quarter – a large part in why Detroit was able to turn a 24-0 deficit into a 28-24 lead.

Garoppolo finished the night 7 of 12 for 83 yards, but with help from Foster, put New England in position to win the game.

Trailing 28-27 with 2:01 to go in the fourth quarter and the ball at the Patriots 32-yard line, Garoppolo connected with Cody Hollister for 37 yards to get on the cusp of field goal range right off the bat. Foster gained 12 more yards on the ground on the drive, which was enough for Stephen Gostkowski to nail a 45-yard field goal with 0:02 left on the clock.

Gostkowski made all three of his field goals but missed an extra point. In all this preseason, he’s 6 for 7 on field goal attempts – his lone miss from 56 yards away – and 6 for 7 on extra points.

Kony Ealy on the trading block?

Reports surfaced Friday morning that the Patriots may be looking to trade Ealy, whom they acquired this off-season from the Carolina Panthers.

Ealy did not play until the second half, where he did have a pressure and a quarterback hit on the same drive. Ealy’s inconsistent preseason continues on.

No Brissett

Jacoby Brissett did not play for the first time this preseason, after leading potential game-winning drives that came up short in each of the first two weeks vs. Jacksonville and Houston.

Due to the unique circumstances regarding Brady’s looming suspension last preseason, he played in Week Four vs. the Giants. That seems extremely unlikely this year, which means Brissett should have ample time to make an impression – one way or the other – in the Patriots’ preseason finale on Thursday at 7:30 p.m. at Gillette Stadium.

Photo Credit: AP

Dog Rescued From Cliff at West Rock Ridge State Park


Crews from several agencies helped rescue a dog trapped on a cliff in West Rock Ridge State Park on Saturday.

The dog was stuck on a ledge on the Woodbridge side of the park around 11 a.m., according to Hamden Fire officials.

Firefighters from Hamden were called to assist Woodbridge firefighters and animal control officers from Woodbridge and the Department of Energy and Environmental Protection.

According to fire officials, Hamden firefighter Scott Blake was lowered about 60 feet down the cliff to reach the pit bull mix.

After taking some time to gain the dog's trust, the firefighter was able to secure the animal and both were lowered to firefighters waiting below.

The dog had minor injuries, fire officials said.

Photo Credit: Hamden Fire

2 Rescued After SUV Plunges Into Ravine in New Haven


Two people are recovering after a car flipped over into a ravine near The Southern Connecticut State University Campus.

Police said around 2 a.m. the driver of a jeep lost control on Crescent Street and landed in the ravine.

Police said the two people in the car were hurt but neither suffered serious injuries.

It is unclear at this time whether they had to be rescued or got out on their own.

Police said during the initial stages of the investigation, one of the passengers uttered a name which led officers to believe there was a third person who’d been thrown from the vehicle. After police conducted interviews, they discovered the party had found their own way home and that only two people were originally in the vehicle.

Police are looking into whether alcohol and speed were factors in this crash.

30 Detained at Hidden Tunnel Spanning US-Mexico Border


Thirty undocumented immigrants suspected of trying to cross into the United States from Mexico through a hidden tunnel spanning the border were detained by authorities in San Diego early Saturday.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP) agent Eduardo Olmos told NBC 7 that U.S. Border Patrol agents spotted the large group at around 1:30 a.m. near the Otay Mesa Port of Entry in south San Diego County, near the border crossing bridge off Britannia Boulevard and Otay Pacific Drive.

When the suspects realized they had been seen by the agents, many of them tried to flee by going back into the mouth of a tunnel that investigators said had been constructed for the purpose of illegally smuggling undocumented immigrants from Mexico into the U.S.

Border agents followed the group and detained several on the surface of the tunnel at Drucker Lane and Siempre Viva Road; others were detained inside the tunnel, officials said.

Of those detained, 23 were Chinese nationals and seven were Mexican nationals. They are now in the custody of U.S. Border Patrol pending further questioning. 

According to investigators, the tunnel began in a building on Calle Mar Barmejo in the Garita de Otay area in Tijuana, approximately 328 feet south of the U.S.-Mexico border in San Diego and three miles from the border crossing bridge.

Mexican authorities are working the investigation on that side, at the building, trying to determine who is responsible for the build-out and operation of the smuggling tunnel.

On the U.S. side, at least one agent was seen Saturday manning the tunnel's exit, which was located just north of the secondary fence in the vicinity of the Otay Mesa Port of Entry. Olmos said CBP agents would stay in the area as long as needed to aid in the investigation.

As of 4 p.m., Olmos said no drugs had been discovered inside the tunnel.

Members of the San Diego Tunnel Task Force, led by U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement’s (ICE) Homeland Security Investigations (HSI), are currently on scene investigating.

ICE spokeswoman Virginia Kice sent this statement to NBC 7 about the tunnel, which read, in part:

"While subterranean tunnels are not a new occurrence along the California-Mexico border, they are more commonly utilized by transnational criminal organizations to smuggle narcotics. However, as this case demonstrates, law enforcement has also identified instances where such tunnels were used to facilitate human smuggling.

The probe into the newly discovered tunnel is ongoing and members of the San Diego Tunnel Task Force are coordinating closely with their law enforcement counterparts in Mexico on the investigation. Preliminarily it appears this latest tunnel may be an extension of an incomplete tunnel previously discovered and seized by Mexican authorities."

Customs and Border Patrol officials told NBC 7 in the last two years there has been an uptick in nationals from countries other than Mexico trying to enter the country illegally.

Photo Credit: Telemundo 20
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Water Main Break Closes Route 5 in Wallingford


A water main break shut down Route 5 in Wallingford on Sunday morning.

Both sides of Route 5 were closed between Christian Street and Lee Avenue, according to the State Department of Transportation.

There is no word how long the road would be closed or how many customers are affected by the water main break.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Coast Guard Searching for Missing Boater in New Haven


The U.S. Coast Guard and several other agencies are searching for a missing boater in Long Island Sound off New Haven Harbor.

According to Coast Guard and local officials, a man went missing after a boat overturned near the western break wall.

A bystander saw the overturned boat and a person in the water in distress and alerted authorities around 9:15 a.m., according to the Coast Guard.

Two Coast Guard swimmers were able to rescue the 46-year-old unconscious man off the breakwater and he was taken to the hospital, where he later died, according to police. 

A second person identified as Michael Murphy, the boat's owner, remained missing, Coast Guard officials said.

The boat sustained damage to the bow and was overturned near the breakwater, according to West Shore Fire District Chief Steve Scafariello.

It is not clear what caused the boat to capsize.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Remains of All USS McCain Sailors Found: Navy


Divers have recovered the bodies of all 10 sailors missing after a U.S. Navy destroyer collided with a tanker off the coast of Singapore last week, the Navy said Sunday.

The Navy previously identified eight crew members who were missing as Nathan Findley, Abraham Lopez, Kevin Sayer Bushell, Jacob Daniel Drake, Timothy Thomas Eckels Jr., Corey George Ingram, John Henry Hoagland III and Logan Stephen Palmer.

The USS John S. McCain collided with the Alnic MC, a 30,000-ton chemical and oil tanker sailing under the Liberian flag, on Aug. 21 local time in the waters east of the Straits of Malacca, the U.S. 7th Fleet has said.

It was the second deadly collision involving a Navy destroyer and a merchant vessel in a little more than two months. On June 17, the USS Fitzgerald collided with a container ship off Japan. Seven U.S. sailors died.

Photo Credit: U.S. military photos

Ocean Avenue Construction Project to Begin in New London


Construction is expected to begin Monday on a $2 million construction project on Ocean Avenue in New London.

The project includes the reconstruction of 4,450 feet of the road, including the installation of granite curbs, upgrading storm trains, removing traffic signals at certain intersections, installing ADA ramps at all intersections, creating new sidewalks and adding two bicycle lanes.

The project, funded from the State of Connecticut Local Transportation Improvement Program, is scheduled to take about five months and will cost $2.16 million. Construction will take place between Niles Hill Road and Neptune Avenue.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

State Police Seek Hit-and-Run Driver Who Struck Bicyclist


Connecticut State Police are trying to identify a driver who struck a bicyclist on Crystal Lake Road (Route 30) in Tolland Sunday then fled the scene.

Police said the collision happened on Crystal Lake Road near Webber Road around 2:37 p.m. The 27-year-old bicyclist was taken to Hartford Hospital for treatment of minor injuries.

The suspect vehicle was caught on surveillance footage and appears to be a white 1999-2000 Oldsmobile Alero. The suspect vehicle will have damage on the passenger side and is missing its passenger side mirror.

Anyone with information or who can identify the vehicle is asked to contact TFC Burnell at Troop C at 860-896-3200.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Dream Ride Experience Raises $1.5M for Special Olympics


The final day of the Dream Ride Experience kicked into high gear Sunday morning.

The event has raised millions of dollars for Special Olympics over the years and raked in $1,550,000 this year.

Special Olympics athletes were revved up for final day of the Dream Ride Experience.

Around 1,500 motorcycle enthusiasts cruised the Connecticut countryside, raising money for athletes in 22 states and two foreign countries. One mother described the weekend like Christmas.

“When it’s August it’s Dream Ride,” Carol Millet said. “Meeting of old friends, making new friends. It’s just a wonderful, wonderful event,” she added.

The Dream Ride Experience not only pays for the athletes and their unified partners to participate in the weekend, but at the end of the day, each chapter receives part of the proceeds to put towards their programming.

“We’re gonna see a check. The big check,” said Jamaine Johnson.

“Last year, we had 72 tournaments just for high school kids in the state and we had the four major games in all the qualifiers that lead into that, about 16,000 athletes and unified teammates,” explained Beau Doherty, Special Olympics CT president.

Over the weekend, the athletes got the royal treatment, pulling up to a red carpet in a half-billion-dollars-worth of exotic and classic cars.

“It was fun,” Johnson said.

The public was invited to check-out the fleet of Ferraris at the Farmington Polo Club, the custom-made Paganis, and the Rolls Royce, and Bentleys.

Mike Bozzuto started the Dream Ride experience 17 years ago. He’s driven in more than $6 million in donations during that time.

“Just seeing the smiles on their faces, the connection that’s being made between all the people who are here. It’s a bond that will last a lifetime,” Bozzuto said.

These cars and bikes might be the draw, but the real stars are the Special Olympians.

“The treatment that an athlete gets when they show up here is incredible,” Doherty said.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

State Police Seek Essex Armed Robbery Suspect


Connecticut State Police are trying to identify a suspect who robbed a Mobil gas station in Essex at knifepoint Sunday.

According to police, a male suspect entered the Mobil Gas Station at 55 Main Street in Essex just before 9 p.m. The clerk told police the suspect was armed with a knife and demanded money. When the clerk realized the suspect was serious, he complied.

The suspect left the store and fled south on Main Street.

The suspect was wearing a camouflage hooded jacket, a white handkerchief-style mask, dark shorts and dark sneakers with white soles.

Anyone with information on this crime or who recognizes the suspect pictured above is asked to contact State Police Troop F at 860-399-2100.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Residents in Waist-Deep Water Rescued After Viral Photo


Seniors at a Texas nursing home were rescued Sunday after a dramatic image of elderly residents sitting in waist-deep floodwaters went viral.

The photo was taken inside La Vita Bella assisted living home in Dickinson located just southeast of Houston.

Kim McIntosh told NBC News her mother runs the facility. McIntosh, who lives in Florida, said she received the photo early Sunday from her mother, Trudy Lampson, after she inquired about their safety as Harvey continued to ravage Houston.

Harvey, which made landfall late Friday as a Category 4 hurricane and has lingered dropping heavy rain as a tropical storm, sent devastating floods pouring into Houston and surrounding towns on Sunday. The rising water chased thousands of people to rooftops or higher ground and overwhelmed rescuers who could not keep up with the constant calls for help, The Associated Press reported.

McIntosh’s husband, Timothy McIntosh, determined their best hope to get help to the nursing home would be to post the photo online. He tweeted the photo just before 10 a.m. ET Sunday, along with a desperate plea for help.

"La vita Bella nursing home in Dickinson Texas is almost underwater with nursing home patients," the first tweet read. "Need help asap emergency services please RETWEET," McIntosh wrote a few minutes later.

The now-viral photo showed at least six residents submerged in murky floodwaters.

After some Twitter users questioned the validity of the photo, McIntosh fired back, noting his mother-in-law was among those trapped in need of help.

"What we need is help not doubters. This involves our own family. We are in Fl.," McIntosh‏ wrote.

Galveston Office of Emergency Services spokeswoman Brittany Viegas confirmed to NBC News that 15 people were rescued from La Vita Bella nursing home on Sunday.

McIntosh thanked the Galveston OEM and the National Guard for their rescue efforts and "all the true believers that retweeted and got the news organizations involved. It pushed La Vita Bella to #1 on the priority list," he tweeted.

Photo Credit: Trudy Lampson
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Men Stole Booze, Top of Wedding Cake from Tolland Homes: PD


State police have arrested two men who are accused of breaking into one Tolland home and stealing a baseball bat and several other items, then committing a home invasion in another Tolland home and stealing alcohol, the top of the homeowner’s wedding cake, a laptop and a purse.

Eric Rawson, 26, of Manchester, and 24-year-old Zachary Jurewicz, of Vernon, are accused of breaking into a house on Old Stafford Road in Tolland Sunday as the homeowner and his juvenile daughter were home, and stealing several items, including a baseball bat that they used to hit several items on the property, according to police.

Then, police said, they broke into a house on Fernwood Road.

The owner of the Fernwood Road residence said she was in her bedroom upstairs, walked out after hearing two male voices in her home and saw two men, including one who was holding a baseball bat.

The two men ran from the house and into the woods with a purse, alcohol, the top of the homeowner’s wedding cake that had been in the freezer and a laptop, police said.

A state police K-9 found Rawson and Jurewicz and both men were charged with home invasion, first-degree burglary, fifth- and sixth-degree larceny, disorderly conduct, first-degree risk of injury to a child, second-degree burglary, second-degree criminal mischief and breach of peace, according to police.

Photo Credit: Connecticut State Police

Students Welcomed Back to School Amid Budget Uncertainties


The Consolidated School District of New Britain is one of several districts welcoming students back to school Monday and the excitement this year comes with some apprehension from administrators as state legislators continue to debate the budget.

Connecticut has been without a budget since July 1. As a result, Gov. Dannel Malloy signed a revised executive order stating that 54 school districts will receive less money than planned, and 85 districts will not receive any funding. Funding for only 30 core school districts will be kept whole.

New Britain is one of those core districts, but other programs like after-school programs that usually receive state grant money will likely go unfunded.

“We have to have out-of-school-time programming for our kids. We know the success. I think we have a very good partnership here in the city. We won’t let that not happen. So we have to go back to our budget and figure out a way to bring them onboard with us,” said Supt. Nancy Sarra.

Sarra said the district has been preparing for this since January, and left some positions unfilled and put some full-time positions part-time in anticipation of a budget crunch.

But until a state budget is passed, New Britain, like districts across the state, is in limbo.

Photo Credit: NBC Connecticut

Truck Fire Closes Route 9 South in Essex

Westport Police Seek Suspect in Credit Card Theft


Westport police are trying to identify a woman suspected of charging over $12,000 on stolen credit cards earlier this month.

According to police, someone entered a parked car on Long Lots Road on Aug. 9 and stole a purse. The credit cards were then used in Trumbull, New Haven and Orange for purchases totaling over $12,000.

Police are looking to identify the woman pictured above in connection with the case. Anyone who recognizes her is asked to contact the Westport Police Detective Bureau at 203-341-3080.

Photo Credit: Westport Police Department

Drug Overdose Deaths Continue to Rise in Connecticut


The state Office of the Chief Medical Examiner has released numbers on accidental intoxication deaths and is projecting that by year’s end the state will see over 1,000 overdose deaths if the trend continues at its current rate.

State officials say the majority of these deaths are due to opioid abuse. From January to June 2017, there have been 539 accidental overdose deaths in Connecticut, which projects to 1078 by year’s end if the current trend continues. That would be an 18 percent increase from the 917 deaths in 2016.

Data shows that 322 deaths so far this year involved fentanyl, which projects to 644 fentanyl deaths by year’s end, compared to 483 in 2016. Fentanyl has surpassed heroin as the most common opioid of abuse – so far 257 deaths have involved heroin, which projects to 514.

The data released by the OCME goes back to 2012 and shows a steady increase in accidental overdose deaths each year.

Opioid abuse is not a localized problem - President Donald Trump declared the opioid crisis a national emergency earlier this year. According to the National Institute on Drug Abuse, over 33,0000 people died nationally from overdose deaths in 2015. The president received criticism for making the declaration without formally signing it and sending it off to Congress, meaning formal plans and funding to combat the epidemic were not immediately pushed forward.

Sen. Richard Blumenthal (D-Conn.) has spoken out multiple times about the crisis both in Connecticut and at the national level. Other Connecticut leaders, such as Congresswoman Elizabeth Esty, have also spoken out about the crisis and continue to seek solutions.

Local law enforcement and other first responders have been making efforts to combat the epidemic, such as creating specialized task forces focused on cracking down on heroin and fentanyl abuse, and carrying overdose reversal drug naloxone.

Photo Credit: necn
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