State agencies to assist Willimantic in heroin fight

The Connecticut governor has put the state police and the Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services at the disposal of officials in Willimantic to combat heroin trafficking and addiction.

Gov. John G. Rowland has instructed the commissioners of the two agencies to provide Willimantic with whatever assistance it needs, spokesman Christopher Cooper said Friday.

In addition, U.S. Rep. Rob Simmons, R-Conn., has written to federal officials requesting additional federal funds.

The Hartford Courant on Thursday completed a five-day series that chronicled the history, scope and human toll of a 30-year heroin problem in Willimantic, a section of the town of Windham with a population of 15,800. The number of addicts and heroin-related arrests is much greater in Willimantic than in similar-sized communities.

DMHAS Commissioner Thomas A. Kirk Jr. said Windham First Selectman Michael Paulhus discussed reaching out to people in the Hotel Hooker, a rooming house in the downtown business district where many addicts live.

“We are willing to commit resources and provide staff who would go door to door at the Hooker and try to intervene with the mentally ill and addicted,” Kirk said Friday.

–Associated Press

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