Addiction Crisis

Vermont Senator Patrick Leahy announces funding for a Rural Center of Excellence on Substance Abuse Disorders
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy announced Thursday that the University of Vermont will receive $6.6 million from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to create a Rural Center of Excellence on Substance Abuse Disorders.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger announces opioid related overdose deaths down in Chittenden County
Pat Bradley/WAMC

In 2013, Vermont began tracking the number of opioid overdose related fatalities in the state on a county-by-county basis. Officials in Chittenden County, Vermont’s most populous, announced Thursday that there was a significant drop in overdose deaths last year.

A powerful obituary for a Vermont woman with opioid addiction has inspired more than 100 donations to a local recovery center from around the country and as far away as Denmark.

syringe
ZaldyImg/Flickr

For over a year, officials in Vermont’s most populous county and the state have been considering the possibility of creating safe injection sites as a means to curb the growing opioid crisis.  This week, U.S. Deputy Attorney General Rod Rosenstein wrote that such plans are not solutions and the Department of Justice is ready to act against communities that create such facilities.  The move is not deterring efforts in Burlington.

NY Senator Charles Schumer
Pat Bradley/WAMC

U.S. Senate Minority Leader Charles Schumer was in Plattsburgh, New York recently to promote the distribution of funds that will allow local law enforcement officers to obtain technology to detect the presence of fentanyl in the field.

Office of National Drug Control Policy acting director Richard Baum
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The acting head of the Office of National Drug Control Policy is in Vermont this week to study the state’s response to the opioid crisis.  The nation’s “drug czar” says the Green Mountain State’s programs and efforts are models that can be emulated nationally.

Substance Abuse and Recovery of Clinton County/Facebook

SPARCC, or Substance Abuse and Recovery of Clinton County, was formed in 2016 to raise public awareness and enhance opioid addiction prevention efforts in the North Country.  The group is now seeking volunteers to tell their addiction stories in hopes of getting more people into recovery and eliminating stigma.

Burlington opioid forum
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Opioid deaths in Vermont increased 38 percent in 2016 despite efforts by health, law enforcement and government officials to stem the crisis. Now, the city of Burlington has drafted 11 principles to guide its approach in dealing with the crisis.  Thursday evening, the mayor hosted a public forum to encourage public input on the principles before they are presented to the city council.

From left:  VT Health Commissioner Dr. Harry Chen, Mayor Miro Weinberger, State's Attorney Sarah George, Dr. Stephen Leffler, Chief Brandon del Pozo
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Burlington, Vermont Mayor Miro Weinberger announced a series of initiatives Thursday aimed at addressing the opioid crisis in the city.

Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Harry Chen
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Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin and state Health Commissioner Harry Chen recently announced proposed changes to the Health Department’s rules that would severely restrict the prescribing of opioids for pain. Much of the outgoing governor’s tenure has been devoted to countering the heroin and opioid crisis.

Kaushik Narasimhan/Flickr

The Senate Judiciary Committee held a hearing in Washington yesterday titled “Attacking America’s Epidemic of Heroin and Prescription Drug Abuse.”  It came as legislators consider the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.  Several of the witnesses that appeared at the hearing were from the Northeast, including New Hampshire’s senators and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin.

Picture of Governor Peter Shumlin
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin was among those who testified Wednesday before the U.S. Senate Judiciary Committee on the need for federal action to curb opiate and heroin addiction.

Photo of Governor Peter Shumlin with agency representatives as he announces child protection funding package
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin today announced an $8.4 million proposed funding package for the 2016-2017 budget years to add staff to the Department of Children and Families and agencies involved in child protection.