GREENWICH — Only a couple of sparks flew when Republican state representatives running for re-election faced off against their Democratic challengers at a packed debate Wednesday night at Greenwich Town Hall.

Candidates vying to represent the 150th and 151st Districts gave their takes on the opioid crisis, funding state pensions, global warming and tolls during the debate hosted by the League of Women Voters of Greenwich.

The only combative moment in the policy-heavy discussion came when the candidates fielded a question from the audience: “Should I be worried about checks and balances at the state level, considering what is happening nationally?”

As Laura Kostin, the Democratic candidate for the 150th District, began answering, Mike Bocchino, the Republican incumbent in the 151st District, said over her, “This is the state of Connecticut.”

“You’re not the moderator of this debate,” Kostin countered.

Bocchino replied, “Just reminding you what we’re running for.”

Opioid crisis

Stephen Meskers, Democratic candidate for the 151st District, said opioid addiction is a horrific, growing problem.

“We need to rein back overuse and over-sale of opioids,” he said. “We need to rein in the ridiculous, aggressive sales pitch of pharmaceutical companies to push opioids.”

His opponent, Bocchino, said he has worked with Greenwich Police Chief James Heavey and medical professionals from Greenwich Hospital to form legislation to combat the scourge of addiction.

“We passed legislation to make sure Narcan is available in all ambulances and for the police department,” Bocchino said. “We also passed a bill that only allows doctors to prescribe seven (opioid) pills at a time instead of 30.”

He cited a database that tracks prescriptions as another accomplishment of the state legislature.

Education is the most important tool in fighting the spread of addiction, Bocchino said.

Kostin agreed more education about the dangers of drug use is necessary.

“When I was young, they scared us straight,” she said. “They put us in jail cells as kids.”

The lack of a standard of care for treatment centers in Connecticut is another major roadblock to recovery, she added. She also believes all insurance companies should be required to cover addiction treatment.

Fred Camillo, the Republican incumbent in the 150th District, said that a boy he used to umpire for lost his life to addiction a few weeks ago.

“He was a good kid,” Camillo said. “His mom said to me, ‘Freddie you gotta do something.’”

The state has made strides in fighting addiction, but more needs to be done, he said. He said he’s open to looking at solutions that are proving successful in other countries.

“We have to think outside of the box,” Camillo said. “These are our kids, and we’re losing them for no good reason.”

Pensions

Touting his background in finance, Meskers delved deep into the state’s underfunded pension problems, saying it is the single biggest problem Connecticut faces. The solution requires creative thinking, he said.

The state is in a difficult position with pensions because of policies from Democrats, Bocchino said. Connecticut is obligated to follow through with its promises to its workers, he said.

Kostin said that she heard a lot of blame and not a lot of solutions from the other candidates. Proposals such as tapping into the lottery proceeds that have already been proposed shouldn’t be cast aside, she said.

Going forward, the state should define its benefit model and not allow pension haggling from unions, Camillo said.

Climate change

Global warming is a problem, Meskers said, but fighting climate change is more of a federal issue that a state issue. Connecticut can prepare for the effects of global warming, he said, but he’s not sure what real impact can be made at that level of government.

Energy drives the economy, Meskers said, and his focus as a representative would be on growing jobs.

Bocchino, who serves on the legislative Energy and Technology Committee, said he has worked on bipartisan initiatives to preserve the environment.

“Both parties understand the importance of clean and renewable energy and a healthy environment,” he said. “We have to start inviting businesses along those lines to Connecticut.

“One of those companies is Tesla.”

Bocchino said he wants the state to become a place for companies that are leading the way in environmental sciences.

As a coastal state, Kostin said Connecticut needs to do more to preserve its beauty.

“At the (Representative Town Meeting level), I’ve worked very hard to educate myself on all issues my district is facing,” she said. “I’m proud of my record on environmental measures.”

Kostin said she voted for the town’s ban on plastic bags and would support a ban on plastic straws as well.

Camillo said he wrote a bill that expanded recycling in Connecticut and voted for bills promoting solar energy.

“We’ve taken some good measures so far,” he said. “But we’ve got to do a lot more.”

Tolls

The Republicans both said they do not support adding tolls to the state’s highways, while the Democrats showed support for taxing trucks and out-of-state drivers only.

All the candidates said they are open to public and private partnerships designed to fund the upkeep of the state’s transportation infrastructure.