Rep. Lanoue’s Proposal to Expand the CRISIS Initiative Becomes a House Republican Caucus Bill

The bill, first introduced by Representative Lanoue in 2019, aims to combat the opioid crisis and mental illness, by expanding the successful CRISIS pilot program. Under the original legislation, CRISIS, which is currently in the Connecticut State Police Troop E jurisdiction, would be expanded into Troop D. In 2020, the bill was taken up as a House Republican proposal before the session was cut short in March due to the COVID-19 Pandemic. This year, H.B. #5586, AN ACT REQUIRING EXPANSION OF THE CRISIS INITIATIVE PILOT PROGRAM THROUGHOUT THE STATE, has been referred to the joint Committee on Public Safety and Security in hopes of expanding the program throughout the entire state.

“This is a good bill that has the potential to help countless people across Connecticut, and I thank Rep. Lanoue for spearheading this legislation,” said Rep. Jason Perillo, Deputy Republican Leader. “Substance abuse and addiction have been ongoing public health issues for decades, with an alarming rise in drug-related overdoses within the last few years alone. Between remote learning, work-from-home orders, and general isolation from friends and family, COVID has only presented more challenges in addressing mental health disorders. This bill will give law enforcement and medical professionals the opportunity to work together to help people get the treatment and rehabilitation they need.”

“This is such a critical piece of legislation given the isolation we’re all struggling with right now,” said Rep. Robin Green, the lead Republican on the Public Safety Committee. “Law enforcement are often the first on hand in the event of an opioid-related emergency, and they know from personal experience the seriousness of this situation and the impact it’s having on our communities. We thank them for their work in keeping our communities safe and we’re grateful to have them as a partner as we push to expand this highly successful prevention program.”

“I have been committed since my first year in office to expanding the CRISIS initiative for the rest of my district and throughout Connecticut, as well as preserving it in the areas that currently have it. CRISIS has proven to be a model of excellence in fighting back against the opioid epidemic and mental illness. This is an initiative that has seen much support from our state and local police, the mental health community, and fantastic community partners like Griswold PRIDE,” Rep. Lanoue said. “I have always said programs that don’t work should be discontinued. However, successful ones like CRISIS must be replicated, embraced and expanded. CRISIS is a great example of our police and mental health community working together, and we must give them every tool they need to be successful.”

The CRISIS Pilot Program is a collaborative effort between both state and local law enforcement, mental health professionals, and community partners to provide individuals battling addiction with treatment options. Combatting the opioid crisis has been a long battle for law enforcement professionals, and over the last several months, it has become increasingly challenging. The COVID-19 pandemic has increased stress and uncertainty for many with studies conducted across the country drawing a direct parallel between the effects of isolation, job loss, and shutdowns to an increase in opioid use and mental illness. ” From data gathered in 2020, our country lost over 81,000 from drug overdoses, the most ever in a 12 month period. Since the onset of COVID- 19 we are seeing a significant increase in mental illness, which is why it is so urgent to get House Bill #5586, passed this year,” Rep. Lanoue said.

State Representative Brian Lanoue serves the 45th Assembly District which includes the towns of Griswold, Lisbon, Plainfield, Sterling, and Voluntown.

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