New Canaan Police Chief Pushes Education Over Enforcement In Teen Drug Use

NEW CANAAN, Conn. — After widely publicized heroin overdoses in communities across the country, Police Police Chief Leon Krolikowski said his department is taking action to prevent addiction to opioids — including heroin — in the New Canaan community.

New Canaan Police Chief Leon Krolikowski
New Canaan Police Chief Leon Krolikowski Photo Credit: Frank MacEachern/file

“We’re all very concerned about this booming epidemic,” Krolikowski said during a meeting at Town Hall on Wednesday night. “The good news is it hasn’t hit New Canaan hard yet. The bad news is that across the state there’s about 350 deaths that were linked to heroin, which causes us great concern.”

Krolikowski said he knows of adults who were raised in New Canaan, attended New Canaan schools and possibly became addicted to heroin while in town before becoming victims of heroin overdoses in other communities.

To combat addiction to heroin, other opiates and all drugs, Krolikowski said his department is taking measures to target underage drinking, among many initiatives.

“Our opinion is that underage alcohol use leads to successive use of other drugs — both legal and nonlegal — and early use of alcohol generally can contribute to an addiction later on in life,” he said.

Krolikowski said he has assigned one of his investigators to investigate narcotics and the underage use of alcohol in town. He said he’s primarily concerned with youth drug use at parties and school.

He said the department is tracking parties “more carefully than ever.” It is also launching a diversionary program for youth who could have been arrested at parties.

“That’s a first for us, and we’re hoping that people are going to embrace the educational component of it and not choose the enforcement option,” Krolikowski said. “We’d rather not go the enforcement route at least for those kinds of offenses.”

Parents may need more information about drug and alcohol addiction, Krolikowski said. He said he would like to give them the educational tools so they can identify concerns they may have with their child.

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