Numbers reveal the diversity of those who died of opioids in CT

Sue Kruczek with her late son Nick graduating from Guilford High School.

The roll of the dead in Connecticut as a result of the exploding opioid epidemic tells a lot about the victims and how they died, with no names attached. The list of 3,701 deaths between 2015 and 2018 reveals some facts that can’t be seen any other way.

Because many people die of opioid overdose in a hospital or where they ingested the drug, Hearst Connecticut Media looked at the individual deaths according to where the deceased lived.

Of 169 towns and cities in Connecticut, only 10 did not record an opioid-related death in the four years: Colebrook, Morris and Roxbury in Litchfield County; Sherman in Fairfield County; Hartland in Hartford County; Bozrah and Lyme in New London County; Pomfret and Scotland in Windham County; and Union, the smallest town in the state with 839 residents, in Tolland County. Only Sherman and Pomfret in that group have more than 3,000 residents.

The ages of those who died ranged from a 15-year-old who died in 2016, which news reports have identified as Olivia Elizabeth Roark of Griswold, to an 84-year-old Hartford man, who died in 2018.

The average age was just under 42 years, 3 months, and those who died in Connecticut came from at least 25 other states, from Alabama to California, and from Oklahoma to South Dakota.

Litchfield County, with 229 deaths over four years, had the highest average number, 3.14 per 10,000 residents, followed by New London, 324, 3.01; Hartford, 1,002, 2.80; New Haven, 924, 2.68; Windham, 133, 2.86; Middlesex, 156, 2.39; Tolland, 116, 1.91; and Fairfield, 576, 1.52. The average for the state was 2.56 per 10,000 residents.

White males make up the largest group by far, with 2,120 over four years, followed by 756 white females, 367 Hispanic males, 245 black males, 79 black females, 70 Hispanic females, 17 Asian, Hawaiian or “other” males, 10 Asian Indian males, eight Asian or “other” females, three Asian Indian females, 19 males of unknown race or with no race recorded, seven females of unknown race or no race recorded.

Towns with less than 10,000 population understandably had few deaths, with only Lebanon, with 11, and Portland, 15, having more than nine. Sharon and North Canaan rank eighth and ninth in terms of the average number of opioid overdoses per 10,000 residents over four years. Chaplin follows at No. 12.

Connecticut Media Group