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By Zachary Comeau
Daily News Staff – Wicked Local

MILFORD – As the town, region, state and country face a growing opioid epidemic, one state official made a plea to freshman students: do not start down that path.

Evangelidis spoke about the dangers of nearly every drug on the black market, but spoke at length about prescription opiates, heroin and fentanyl, the latter of which he said is 100 times more powerful than heroin.

While he acknowledged that some are predisposed to opioid addiction after being prescribed the pills, Evangelidis said more than 71 percent of people get the pills from a friend or relative, either by stealing them or receiving them.

“They’re making the choice to put it in their mouth,” he said.

His presentation comes during a week when there have already been three overdoses in Milford, including a 30-year-old man who died Tuesday.

A 22-year-old man was revived using Narcan on Saturday, and a 21-year-old man was taken to Milford Regional Medical Center Wednesday morning, according to Chief Tom O’Loughlin.

The culprit, he said, appears to be fentanyl.

So far this year in Milford, there have been 33 overdoses and four overdose deaths, on track to eclipse the 92 overdoses and 15 deaths of last year, numbers that rose dramatically from 2015.

Statewide, the number of opioid overdose deaths is rising exponentially. In 2010, there were 560, but in 2016, there were an estimated 2,069.

Following the typical path to intravenous heroin use, Evangelidis said the high from pills begins to fade and cheaper drugs like heroin and fentanyl back a big punch when used with a needle.

Drug use, he said, almost always results in legal troubles and alienation from family and friends.

“Once you go down that road, it can happen to anybody,” he said.