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Photo of Senator Ted Kennedy, Jr..

STATE SENATOR

Ted Kennedy, Jr.

Listening to You

Getting Toxic Herbicides Off Our Roads

Year after year, Connecticut's Department of Transportation (DOT) sprays our roadsides with thousands of gallons of glyphosate, defoliants and other toxic herbicides, poisoning our water and threatening our health, all in the name of "weed and vegetation control." I led bipartisan committee passage of a bill that would prohibit the use of toxic herbicides on state highways and roadways.

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The Environment Committee has called for DOT to stop this practice and asks the agency to consider safer--and oftentimes less expensive options--such as mowing, planting pollinator-friendly flowers, and using non-poisonous herbicide alternatives. Connecticut's environment is one of our state's strategic economic assets that must be protected and preserved for future generations.

The indiscriminate overuse of toxic chemicals takes a toll on the soil and waterways in our state. These chemicals are designed to be an effective poison. They do not dissipate easily, and have been shown to do harm to various plants, animals, and human beings. Newly unsealed court documents reveal how Monsanto, the maker of the most widely used herbicide, glyphosate, repeatedly tried to hide evidence of the herbicide's toxicity. The World Health Organization deemed glyphosate a "probable human carcinogen" in 2015, and many countries have already banned or restricted the chemical's use.

Fighting Connecticut's Opioid Epidemic

The growing opioid epidemic is killing an increasing number of Connecticut residents every day. According to a recent report by the federal Agency for Healthcare Research and Quality (AHRQ), Connecticut's rate of opioid-related emergencies ranks fifth in the nation. In 2016, the state medical examiner's office reported that 917 Connecticut residents died from overdoses, a 25 percent increase over 2015.

VIDEO: Opioid bill

Research from other states shows that the fewer barriers there are to accessing opioid antagonists like Narcan, a safe, life-saving opiate overdose reversal medication, the fewer deaths occur due to opioid overdose. We need to make Narcan more available and easier to access, and the "standing order" model does exactly that. I introduced legislation, which received unanimous, bipartisan support in the Public Health Committee that will make Connecticut the 35th state to create a "standing order" for Narcan. A standing order is a type of prescription that is non-patient specific, and would allow pharmacists to more easily dispense Narcan to any individual, including a friend or family member, who is concerned about reversing a potential opiate overdose.