Last January, Gov. Peter Shumlin made Vermont's opiate addiction problem the focus of his State of the State Address. Now, the governor says we've made steady progress in the year since his speech.
Shumlin points to expanded treatment centers and 700 more Vermonters getting treatment as successes in the past year.
ow, we still have waiting lines because as we've raised the awareness of the importance of moving to treatment, and made clear that we have treatment available, we are now treating, across Vermont, over 2,500 individuals,” says Shumlin.
About 500 addicts are on those waiting lists. Shumlin acknowledges that it's difficult for those who want medication-assisted treatment to be told they have to wait until a space fills up.
The governor's administration is working on a budget right now that includes a $100 million deficit. So will there be cuts to the expanded treatment programs?
Shumlin says no. "When we make tough budget choices, we also prioritize. And that's really important. And we all know that we lose Vermont's quality of life if we look the other way to heroin and opiate addiction, because it drives crime,” Shumlin says.