Heroin Deaths Up In Vermont After Governor Declared “Full-Blown…Crisis”


Last year, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin devoted his State of the State address to a “full-blown heroin crisis” in Vermont. The legislature enacted many of his initiatives, including one-time grants to addiction clinics to help them reduce the size of their waiting lists, reports the New York Times. Officials say they have made strides against addiction, which is particularly acute across New England. About 40 percent more Vermonters are seeking treatment for addiction today than a year ago.

“This is by no means 'mission accomplished,'” Shumlin said. “We have a lot more work to do. But I'm proud of the progress we're making as a state and as a region.” As aggressively as Vermont is attacking opioid addiction, the number of deaths from heroin is going up — 35 last year, up from 21 in 2013. , not down. Middlesex County, Ma., which encompasses much of the area outside Boston and is the most populous county in New England, reported 103 heroin fatalities in 2014, up sharply from the 33 deaths in 2013. in Vermont, health commissioner Harry Chen says, “We're just scratching the surface. Even if we almost double the number of people in treatment, for each person who seeks it, there are probably 10 others who need it.”

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