Town Councilman: Heroin Has Killed Six Young People from New Canaan


In the past 18 to 24 months, five or six young people from New Canaan overdosed and died from heroin, says Town Council Member E. Roger Williams.

The deaths occurred almost entirely outside of town, after the young people had entered their 20s and had moved to places like Wilton, Norwalk and Stamford, Williams said — but he said the introduction into substance abuse tended to happen when the young people were teenagers growing up in this town.

“In the last year and a half, we’ve had six of our children die,” Williams said at a Town Council meeting on Wednesday. After the meeting he amended that statement — he meant to say five or six young adults, and the deaths may have started as much as two years ago, he said.

He was reluctant to provide any details, citing the embarassment and concerns of the grieving families, but he said the source of his information was a reliable person in the community who had kept count of the deaths.

Williams spoke immediately after hearing a brief report from fellow Town Council Member Penny Young, chairman of the council’s Health and Human Services Committee, that town officials and local groups were working in a revived “New Canaan Coalition” to focus on helping the town’s youth.

Healthy living has become a focus of the group’s concerns, Young said, and that included the intention of reducing substance abuse.

“Out of concern for our community members, we want to be out ahead with solutions to the challenge of substance abuse,” Young said after the meeting.

“They’re all within 10 years of leaving home,” Williams sad after the meeting, referring to the young people who overdosed and died. “If it was some disease, we’d be going crazy in this town trying to find out how to stop it. It’s as big a problem in this town as an epidemic.”

Council Member Sven Englund said the problem begins in New Canaan: “It begins where they socialize, which is the schools.”

People in town need to recognize the problem, despite the understandable embarrassment and concern of families who have children with addiction problems, he said. “If we keep hiding it in a corner, pretending it doesn’t happen, these families are going to pay a steep price.”

In March of last year published a three-part series of articles about the heroin problem in New Canaan (links below). The first words in the article: “No one died from a heroin overdose in town in 2013, data from state officials tells us, yet the drug for many reasons has become increasingly prevalent in recent years—in New Canaan and most everywhere else around here, officials say.”

Jacqueline D’Louhy, assistant director of youth services with the town’s Department of Human Services said at the time: “New Canaan does not have a death from heroin per se, but we have gotten close. There have been kids, college age or high school age, that have gotten close” to fatal overdoses.

On Wednesday night, Williams said, “There’s a lot of near misses” in terms of deaths from heroin use in New Canaan itself. “We owe it to these families to do something.”

As the Town Council, he said, “the highest legislative body in town, it’s time for us to make it our business, and to make sure those who do have the responsibility (for combatting drug abuse in town) are doing everything they can.”


See’s March 2014 series “Heroin and New Canaan”:


7 thoughts on “Town Councilman: Heroin Has Killed Six Young People from New Canaan

    • I don’t think it has anything to do with Wilton, Norwalk or Stamford ! Maybe others need to be accountable !!!!

  1. I think it’s important not to address this issue as an individual problem, but rather as a real epidemic. It’s all well and good to act horrified at the deaths, but it’s more helpful to seriously reflect and address how the New Canaan culture and society are perpetuating this widespread drug abuse.

    Take, for example, the fact that not one of these deaths has been publicly labelled as a drug overdose. To me, that is a problem. When we think that “reputation” and “appearances” are more important than protecting kids’ lives, we are sending the message that individuals with substance abuse problems should not seek help or talk about it. We, as a community, as parents, and as peers, need to start the conversation.

  2. I want to thank Mr Williams for raising this difficult subject and highlighting what is a devastating issue not openly discussed in town. Recent obituaries identify a clear, painful pattern. It is of no comfort that the actual deaths occurred just beyond the NC borders. These kids are at there most vulnerable as they pass through our schools. Addiction is a disease. New Canaan excels in so many departments. We can and must do better.

  3. Big Kudos to Jeff Holland for investing countless hours and collaborating with the State, DPH and other individuals on creating and passing a Bill ( June 30) that will eventually allow Pharmacists to prescribe and dispense Narcan ( Naloxone) – which is a Heroin /Opiate Antagonist – to anyone who requests it. NCVAC and the NCPD also carry this great drug in the event they respond to an opiate overdose. Having worked in EMS and as an Emergency Room Nurse I have (sadly) lost count of the number of people I have encountered that suffer from Addiction – Heroin, Pills, Alcohol and other recreational pharmaceuticals. There is a stigma associated with Addiction – but the price we pay as families and friends is even greater. Hopefully the more we shine a light on this DISEASE the better educated we can become on how to proactively help anyone at risk but ESPECIALLY our youth. New Canaan, we can no longer be in denial about this growing epidemic!!!

  4. No family should ever feel embarrassed because they have a child who is addicted to drugs. It’s a horrible, cruel addiction that does not discriminate. Young people experiment with things–good and bad. They take risks because they don’t fear anything. They think they will live forever. My son died of a heroin overdose in 2011. He was 21. I have only felt sadness and grief for my family’s loss. We all loved Spencer and we all hoped and did everything we could to help him. The drug was too strong. We didn’t have a chance. We miss our Spencerdoodle every moment of every day.

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