Substance Abuse in Vermont

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According to an article on, “more Vermonters died from opiate overdoses last year [2011] than murders and traffic fatalities combined.” Some opiates have medically valid uses, while others are recreational drugs of abuse. All are physically addictive, and it has become evident that many people have begun to abuse them. Pharmaceutical drugs have taken over the minds of many Vermonters.

I do believe that Vermont is facing a severe epidemic when it comes to opiate addiction. According to Governor Peter Shumlin, “We 're spending roughly $134 million of taxpayer dollars a year to incarcerate drug- and alcohol-addicted people.” The amount of money spent on addicted people is astonishing. This dollar amount could be greatly reduced if
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Unlike methadone, which is administered at a hospital, clinic or drug-rehab facility, Suboxone is a take-home prescription that is filled at a pharmacy. As such, it’s more prone to abuse. Today, Suboxone is one of the most common street drugs in Vermont, and is regularly used and abused in the state’s correctional system. …An 8-milligram dose, which costs $8 at a pharmacy and $10 to $15 on the street, sells for about $100 behind bars. In fact, a 2005 case study on Vermont by the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration reported that “buprenorphine is widely available in the state’s correctional facilities,” though it’s unclear whether inmates use the drug more to get high or get clean.” I do understand that suboxone can be a great tool for treating drug addiction, but it can also be great for that guy on the street looking to get high. Furthermore, why would this drug be available to the members of the prison system if there was any potential of abuse? People who are incarcerated will withdraw. There is no need to allow them to replace their addiction with suboxone. Are inmates provided with methadone while in prison—No. The reason for this is because methadone is a highly controlled substance. What is wrong with Vermont?

Two months ago, on a Friday afternoon, while attending a doctor’s appointment on south prospect street in South Burlington, I witnessed a woman banging on a door just inside the entrance of the
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