Drug Abuse is a Result, Not a Cause

Vermont Quits War on Drugs to Treat Heroin Abuse as Health Issue

Inside: Naloxone, used to counter the effects of a heroin overdose

Photograph by Shane Lavalette for Bloomberg Businessweek

Inside: Naloxone, used to counter the effects of a heroin overdose

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin devoted his entire State of the State address in January to what he called Vermont’s “full-blown heroin crisis.” Since 2000, he said, the state had seen a 250 percent increase in addicts receiving treatment. The courts were swamped with heroin-related cases. In 2013 the number of people charged with heroin trafficking in federal court in Vermont increased 135 percent from the year before, according to federal records. Shumlin, a Democrat, urged the legislature to approve a new set of drug policies that go beyond the never-ending cat-and-mouse between cops and dealers. Along with a crackdown on traffickers, he proposed rigorous addiction prevention programs in schools and doctors’ offices, as well as more rehabilitation options for addicts. “We must address it as a public health crisis,” Shumlin said, “providing treatment and support rather than simply doling out punishment, claiming victory, and moving on to our next conviction.”

Read more here.

 

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