884 American teenagers died from overdoses in 2021, a 249% increase from 2019. The vast majority of these overdoses can be attributed to counterfeit prescription drugs purchased by victims, likely on social media .
To help families understand the issue and its impact on Connecticut teens, Simsbury nonprofit A Promise to Jordan will present “One Pill Can Kill: Counterfeit Prescriptions in America” on Thursday, August 18, 2022. , from 6:00 a.m. to 8:00 a.m. :00 PM The presentation will take place in the Program Room of the Simsbury Public Library, 725 Hopmeadow Street, Simsbury.
Counterfeit pills are causing overdose deaths in people as young as 13 in Connecticut and across the country who think they’re 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 rings are mass producing fake pills and mismarketing them as legitimate prescription pills to fool us all. Teenagers are most vulnerable to buying 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 the mental health of young people has created the perfect storm for the development of substance use issues.
The presentation will be led by Robert Lawlor, Jr., a former Connecticut State Police Drug Task Force officer, as well as an officer with the City of New Haven Police Department. Mr. Lawlor is currently the Connecticut Drug Intelligence Manager at 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 about the illicit drug market in Connecticut.
Mr. Lawlor will be joined by Anna Gasinski, Connecticut Public Health Analyst for NEHIDTA ORS. Anna is a certified prevention specialist and vice-president of the CT association of prevention professionals and has worked in the field of prevention for nine years.
Both presenters will advise attendees on how to avoid falling victim to counterfeit prescriptions.
A Promise to Jordan is named in honor of Simsbury resident Jordan Arakelian who died of a heroin and fentanyl overdose on June 30, 2018 at the age of 24. Her mother, Lisa Gray, started the 501c3 organization in her memory to raise awareness and eliminate the stigma of addiction, help people access quality care, and provide hope that recovery is possible for people struggling with addiction. substance use disorders and their loved ones.