Opioids | WAMC


The Black Lives Matter flag flies in front of Burlington City Hall
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Burlington City Council discussed the legal implications of creating Overdose Prevention Sites in the city during a work session of their regular meeting this week.

A flyer for the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition's Voices For Recovery 2020: Days Of Hope events
Northern Berkshire Community Coalition

On Saturday, the Northern Berkshire Community Coalition holds a self-guided Recovery Walk as part of a week-long event called Voices for Recovery acknowledging the end of National Recovery Month. The event acknowledges community members celebrating recovery from substance misuse, as well as those lost to it. Susan Cross is the NBCC’s coordinator for the Beacon Recovery Community Center, which has held virtual and limited in-person meetings in North Adams to guide people looking for support. She tells WAMC that this year’s walk comes at a time when the recovery community has been particularly hard hit by the COVID-19 pandemic.

The Black Lives Matter flag flies in front of Burlington City Hall
Pat Bradley/WAMC

While a debate over a complaint filed against the Burlington City Council’s use of executive session dominated Monday evening’s meeting, a number of other items were on the agenda.  As WAMC’s North Country Bureau Chief Pat Bradley reports, the meeting included an update on the stalled downtown redevelopment project.

The Vermont Attorney General is supporting a settlement reached with an opioid manufacturer to settle global claims.

Opioids seized by authorities in the Capital Region.
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

New York Congressman Antonio Delgado on Wednesday introduced legislation to halt political contributions from opioid manufacturers.

Opioids seized by authorities in the Capital Region.
WAMC Photo by Dave Lucas

There is a New York state roundtable discussion and public hearing Thursday on tackling the opioid epidemic. And it’s being held in Putnam County.

Senator Patrick Leahy (left) and Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine announce grant to strengthen opioid prevention programs
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy was at the Burlington offices of the state Health Department Tuesday morning to announce a federal grant to help the state respond to opioid overdoses and strengthen prevention efforts.

Two HV Cities File Suit Over Opioid Epidemic

Jun 5, 2019

Two Hudson Valley mayors announced this week that their cities had filed lawsuits against opioid manufacturers, including Purdue Pharma.

From left: VT Attorney General T.J. Donovan, Kate Van Hayes from Senator Bernie Sanders Office, Assistant Attorney General Jill Abrams, Howard Center Executive Director Bob Bick
Pat Bradley/WAMC

The Vermont Attorney General is going back to court over the opioid crisis. T.J. Donovan has filed a third lawsuit against manufacturers or distributors of the drugs that the office claims had key roles in creating the opioid epidemic in the state.

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan announces lawsuit against drug distributors
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Last September, Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan stood in front of the Chittenden County Superior Court to announce that the state was suing Purdue Pharma, the manufacturer of Oxycontin and other opioids. Today, he was back to announce new lawsuits against two drug distributors.

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan (file)
Pat Bradley/WAMC

A Vermont court has denied an opioid manufacturer’s motion to dismiss claims brought by the state against the company.

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger hosts an Opioid Town Hall in Contois Auditorium
MiroBTV/Facebook / Burlington Mayor's office

Burlington Mayor Miro Weinberger hosted an opioid Town Hall this week, bringing in national and regional experts to discuss the epidemic and update residents on the city’s efforts to stem it.

The mayor of Burlington is hosting a meeting that will bring some of the nation's top experts on the opioid threat to Vermont's largest city.

Vermont Statehouse
Pat Bradley/WAMC

A bill has been proposed in the Vermont House to make sure that health care providers follow guidelines for prescribing opioid pain medications to reduce the risk of a patient becoming addicted.

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 Vermont panel has released a progress report finding the state has made improvements on the ongoing opioid crisis, but there is still a long way to go.

Vermont legislators are seeking to ban insurance companies or Medicaid from requiring pre-authorization before approving medication-assisted treatment.

Chris McGreal is a reporter for the Guardian and former journalist at the BBC. He was the Guardian's correspondent in Johannesburg, Jerusalem and Washington DC, and now writes from across the United States.

The opioid epidemic has been described as "one of the greatest mistakes of modern medicine." But calling it a mistake is a generous rewriting of the history of greed, corruption, and indifference that pushed the US into consuming more than 80 percent of the world's opioid painkillers.

His new book is entitled "American Overdose: The Opioid Tragedy in Three Acts." Journeying through lives and communities wrecked by the epidemic, Chris McGreal reveals not only how Big Pharma hooked Americans on powerfully addictive drugs, but the corrupting of medicine and public institutions that let the opioid makers get away with it. The starting point for McGreal's deeply reported investigation is the miners promised that opioid painkillers would restore their wrecked bodies, but who became targets of "drug dealers in white coats."

A few heroic physicians warned of impending disaster. But American Overdose exposes the powerful forces they were up against, including the pharmaceutical industry's coopting of the Food and Drug Administration and Congress in the drive to push painkillers--resulting in the resurgence of heroin cartels in the American heartland. McGreal tells the story, in terms both broad and intimate, of people hit by a catastrophe they never saw coming. Years in the making, its ruinous consequences will stretch years into the future.

Composite photo Dave Lucas/WAMC & Be.Futureproof/Flickr

Four upstate New York cities are suing the manufacturers and distributors of opioid painkillers.

A Vermont panel has released a progress report on previous recommendations on how to deal with the ongoing opioid crisis.

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.

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan (file)
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Vermont’s Attorney General is suing Purdue Pharma, saying the manufacturer of Oxycontin has driven the opioid addiction crisis. T.J. Donovan says the billion dollar industry must account for misleading marketing.


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.


The Burlington City Council approved a nonbinding resolution this week calling for further study into establishing safe injection sites in the city.

Vermont's congressional delegation says the state is getting $4 million in federal grants to help fight the opioid epidemic.

WikiMedia Commons

As the country grapples with the addiction epidemic, one Capital Region hospital is offering opioid-free surgery for a select number of operations.


Nevada and five other states are filing new lawsuits accusing a Connecticut-based pharmaceutical company of using deceptive marketing to boost drug sales that fueled opioid overdose deaths.

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.

Governor Phil Scott (left) joins Drug Prevention Policy Director Jolinda LaClair (at podium) and others at Vermont's Opioid Awareness Day
Pat Bradley/WAMC

Donning purple ribbons and small cards with the number 107, dozens of advocates gathered at the Statehouse in Montpelier this week for Vermont’s second annual Opioid Awareness Day.

Oxycodone pills

Officials in the city of Plattsburgh have joined a growing list of municipalities planning to sue pharmaceutical companies over the opioid crisis.