If you think what happened in New Haven can’t or won’t happen in your town or city, think again.

Here in Hartford, It’s not a matter of if but when.

While the massive drug overdose story in New Haven made for some shocking headlines, I am honestly surprised this hasn’t happened sooner.

In New Haven, it’s K2. Here in Hartford, we are seeing a dangerous spike in the number of our patients who are using Fentanyl, the same drug that reportedly killed the singer Prince. That’s this week. Next week, it could change drastically. It really depends on what is getting pushed around on the streets and what is easy to get.

Both K2 and Fentanyl are synthetic forms of drugs. Both are extremely powerful and both can kill you. Yet, people continue to use these drugs, knowing the dangers. With Fentanyl, it takes just one drop to kill you. You can take the drug and just never wake up.

‘It’s their own fault,’ I hear people say about persons struggling with addiction. ‘If they want to use drugs and die, that’s their choice!’

This all changes, of course, when that person becomes your son or daughter, your brother or sister, or your boyfriend, your girlfriend, your husband or your wife.

Addiction is distant until it reaches the shores of our families and hits us like a tsunami.

You don’t just wake up one day and decide to become an addict. There are many factors that play into disease of addiction.

Quick fixes like Narcan will save someone’s life at the moment, but not forever. We need longer-term care and programs that give people the time to heal from all aspects of their addictions. At InterCommunity Health Care, we run a five-day detox program to help our patients deal with the physical aspects of their disease. We also offer patients a 28-day, 90-day and six month program to give them structure and time to deal with the issues that drove them to use illegal drugs in the first place. We run a program for pregnant women struggling with addiction at our Coventry House For Women and Children In Hartford.  We help them recover and give them a safe place to stay.

But at a time when budgets are tight and money is being cut from state and federal governments, we continue to fight for every dollar so we can continue to help people struggling with addiction, their families and communities dealing with this overwhelming epidemic.

 During the past several days, it was the city of New Haven dealing with what seemed like an impossible situation.

 Hartford will be next if something isn’t done now.

 So, I guess I contradict myself here.

 The if does matter.

Kimberly Beauregard is CEO and President of InterCommunity Health Care which runs the largest detox and recovery center in Connecticut located in Hartford. They have patients from the Greater Hartford Area and all around Connecticut.

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