Opiate Addiction

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The continuing opioid crisis across the nation is prompting calls for action and change. In Vermont, new rules outlining how doctors prescribe opioids to patients in need of pain relief are set to take effect on July 1.

Nashua’s Health Department wants you to stop using the word “addict.”

“We need to talk about substance use disorder like the disease that it is,” health educator Aly McKnight told a captive audience of thirty or so in the basement of Nashua Public Library last month.  She pointed to a list of “stigmatizing” words projected onto a screen. “Alcoholic,” “junkie,” even “addiction” should be avoided, it said. 

Ric Cengeri / VPR

It was a blow to those dealing with the opiate abuse crisis when Maple Leaf Treatment Center in Underhill announced that it was closing temporarily in January. But the announcement in February that it was closing permanently and filing for bankruptcy was seismic.

Emotional abuse during childhood is linked to misuse of opioids in adulthood, according to a recent University of Vermont study.

In less than eight hours last June, Yale New Haven’s emergency department treated 12 patients who had overdosed on opioids. Three died; nine were saved.

People suffering from opioid addiction generally face a lot of challenges as they begin their recovery. But in the Upper Valley, one business owner is using economic incentives to help people stay motivated in recovery programs.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Officials in Burlington announced new measures Thursday that are part of the city’s efforts to gather data that will help inform their work to fight opiate addiction and the problems it brings to the community.

A record number of Vermonters died last year from opioid overdoses.

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It was such a major concern in 2014 that then-Governor Peter Shumlin devoted his entire State of the State address to the opiate addiction crisis. As a result, the state focused health department, treatment, and law enforcement resources at this growing problem.

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Vermont has already invested significant time and money in combating the opioid addiction, from special drug courts to laws regulating prescription monitoring. Now the state is considering a new tool in its arsenal: acupuncture. 

The number of deaths from heroin and synthetic opioids continues to rise in New England, according to data just released by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Courtesy / Burlington Police

Police arrested one man and are still investigating after a string of four robberies in Burlington over the weekend.

The Springfield Police Department and the U.S. Attorney's office convened a meeting in Springfield Tuesday to try to get landlords to play a greater role in fighting the opioid epidemic.

The federal government will offer waivers to nurse practitioners and physicians assistants to write prescriptions for drugs that curb addiction to opioids.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

In 2012, Vermont had 650 people in some form of treatment for opiate addiction. Today, according to Vermont Department of Health, that number has ballooned to more than 7,500. But the state still lacks the capacity needed to treat all of the addicts seeking help.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Officials in Burlington announced a new program Thursday with the goal of ending the opiate crisis in the city.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

The Vermont Department of Health unveiled a new proposal Wednesday that will limit the amount of opioid painkillers doctors can prescribe.

Courtesy, BRAEBURN Pharmaceuticals

Doctors in Vermont and across the country are being introduced to a new tool for treating opioid addiction. It’s an implant: four tiny plastic rods, inserted into a patient’s arm, deliver a steady dose of buprenorphine. 

A new study from Dartmouth-Hitchcock shows surgeons are over-prescribing painkillers.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR file

It's been a year since Burlington welcomed its newest police chief to the city. Brandon del Pozo spent 18 years with the New York City Police Department before taking over as the chief of the Burlington Police.

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