The state is in line to receive $5.5 million in federal grants to combat opioid addiction, the first funds from a sweeping health bill Congress passed last year.
The money will be used "to increase access to treatment, reduce unmet treatment need and reduce opioid-related overdose deaths," Gov. Dannel P. Malloy said in a written statement Friday.
“With these dollars, we will be able to increase activities with our partners across the state to improve prevention efforts, increase access to treatment and provide additional recovery supports for those who are at risk of or recovering from addiction," said Miriam Delphin-Rittmon, commissioner of the state Department of Mental Health and Addiction Services.
Drug overdose deaths have continued to rise in Connecticut, with 917 reported in 2016, a 25 percent increase from the previous years. Of those deaths, 508 involved heroin. The state has also seen a sharp increase in the number of deaths involving fentanyl, a powerful synthetic opioid.
Over the past couple of years, Connecticut's congressional delegation has held numerous public forums to hear from first responders, addiction treatment specialists and others about what Congress could do to help.
"No community is immune from this crisis — a painful reality we witness every day in towns across Connecticut," the delegation said in a joint statement Friday. "Sustained federal action is needed to address this public health catastrophe."
The 21st Century Cures Act included $1 billion for opioid prevention and treatment programs that will be distributed to the states over two years.