The nationwide opioid crisis will take center stage tonight at a forum in Old Mystic.

Southeast Connecticut’s opioid task force is leading the way on how communities tackle the problem.

New London has responded to the opioid crisis by pulling together 28 different health and community organizations into one team and getting users the care and help they need fast.

Firefighters and EMTs are on the front line of the opioid crisis, responding to victims unable to shake the habit.

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In Connecticut, health officials calculated there were 3,000 suspected drug overdoses in the first four months of 2018.

New London’s Opioid Crisis Task Force took the lead more than two years ago, establishing a program using key trained personnel called “navigators,” getting immediate help to save users.

Lisa Cote Johns lost her son to opioid addiction 4 years ago.

“We have changed so much in such a short time. My goal after my son died in 2014 was to do something with the silver houses. I was foggy. Didn’t know what I was doing but knew we needed to make a change,” said Cote Johns.

New London’s Opioid Crisis Task Force serves as a national model in this city alone there are 32 certified homes on average each home has about six beds.

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“In just over two months, with very part-time people, the navigators have been able to get almost 50 people into treatment,” said Jeanne Millstein, Director of New London Human Services.

On Wednesday night, the Old Mystic Fire Department is hosting a forum on the national crisis to include representatives from Connecticut’s Congressional delegation and local leaders.

“We need help. We need help from our Connecticut delegation to sit down with us support our position statement. Work with us to get some meaningful legislation on the books to help us with this crisis,” said Chief Kenneth Richards from the Old Mystic Fire Department.

The forum begins at 7 p.m. and its’ expected to be packed.

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