884 American teens died as a result of an overdose in 2021, a 249% increase over 2019. The vast majority of those overdoses can be attributed to counterfeit prescription drugs purchased by the victims, likely over social media.
To help families understand the issue and its impact on Connecticut teens, the Simsbury nonprofit, A Promise to Jordan, will present “One Pill Can Kill: Counterfeit Prescriptions in America”, on Thursday, August 18, 2022, from 6:00 to 8:00 P. M. The presentation will take place in the Program Room at Simsbury Public Library, 725 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury.
Counterfeit pills are causing overdose deaths in people as young as 13 years old in Connecticut and across the country who think that they are buying a prescription Oxycontin, Xanax, or Percocet, but the pills actually contain 100% Fentanyl, a deadly opioid 100 times more potent than morphine.
Lisa Gray, Founder and Executive Director of A Promise to Jordan, says, “Criminal drug networks are mass-producing fake pills and falsely marketing them as legitimate prescription pills to deceive all of us. Teens are most vulnerable to purchasing and taking these drugs because their brains are not fully developed, and they cannot fully reason their decisions. The impact that the Covid-19 pandemic has had on young people’s mental health has created the perfect storm for the development of substance use issues.”
The presentation will be led by Robert Lawlor, Jr., a former Drug Task Force officer with Connecticut State Police, as well as an officer with the City of New Haven Department of Police Services. Mr. Lawlor is currently the Connecticut Drug Intelligence Officer with the Office of National Drug Control Policy – NEHIDTA (New England High-Intensity Drug Trafficking Area) Overdose Response Strategy (ORS) in Washington, DC. In this role, he builds strategic partnerships with law enforcement agencies to gather and share information on the illicit drug market in Connecticut.
Mr. Lawlor will be joined by Anna Gasinski, the Connecticut Public Health Analyst for NEHIDTA ORS. Anna is a Certified Prevention Specialist and Vice President of CT Association of Prevention Professionals, and has been working in the prevention field for nine years.
Both presenters will advise attendees on how to avoid becoming a victim of counterfeit prescriptions.
A Promise to Jordan is named in honor of Jordan Arakelian, a Simsbury resident who died of a heroin and fentanyl overdose on June 30, 2018 at the age of 24. His mother, Lisa Gray, started the 501c3 organization in his memory to raise awareness and eliminate the stigma of addiction, assist people in accessing quality care, and give hope that recovery is possible to those struggling with substance use disorders and their loved ones.