Vermont has responded to the state’s opiate addiction problem by expanding treatment, but many people are still waiting to receive help, according to NPR.
In January 2014, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin’s entire State of the State Message was devoted to drug addiction. He said the state was suffering from a “full-blown heroin crisis.” Shumlin said he wanted officials to respond to addiction as a chronic disease.
He called on the state to treat heroin addiction with treatment and support, instead of punishment and incarceration. In 2013, almost twice as many people in Vermont died from heroin overdoses as the previous year. The governor said every week, more than $2 million worth of heroin and other opiates are trafficked in Vermont. Almost 80 percent of the state’s inmates are jailed on drug-related charges. He asked for more funding for treatment programs, which he said is more cost-effective than incarceration. He also called for allowing people addicted to heroin to receive treatment as soon as they are arrested.