Opioid Addiction

Addison County Sen. Claire Ayer says the state could use a publicly funded program to ensure universal access to primary care in Vermont.
Angela Evancie / VPR

A group of House and Senate lawmakers will try to lay the groundwork next year for a publicly funded system of universal primary care in Vermont.

The number of families that came into the Vermont Department for Children and Families support system increased, largely he says due to substance abuse issues.
Tomas Nevesely / iStock

The state's child protection line received a record number of calls last year, and officials say the opioid crisis continues to have an impact on families throughout Vermont.

Emily Corwin / VPR News

As attitudes toward pain management change, some researchers say there's better evidence supporting cannabis use for chronic neuropathic pain management than opioids. Yet, for this Vermonter, an opioid prescription costs a dollar, while medical marijuana costs hundreds.

Addressing the state’s drug crisis has been an all hands on deck approach from the medical community, law enforcement to social workers.

But advocates are saying one missing player in all this – has been employers. And how they can be a part of the solution. Whether that’s offering jobs to those in recovery or simply changing how addiction is addressed and talked about at work.

Robert Blaise says the peer drug counseling he took part in while he was in jail in Rutland has helped him stay clean since his release. He now meets weekly with his recovery coach and attends 12-step meetings at Rutland's Turning Point Center.
Nina Keck / VPR

In an effort to help the many Vermont inmates suffering from addiction before their release, a nonprofit in Rutland is trying something different: providing peer-to-peer counseling.

In 2015, there were more than 52,000 drug overdose deaths in just that year. In 2016, it's estimated that number will be exceeded by 10,000 more.

Colin Benjamin, director of the Office of Professional Regulation, says an overhaul of rules governing alcohol and drug counselors will increase the supply of addiction-treatment specialists in Vermont.
Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

As substance abuse treatment agencies struggle to find qualified workers, state officials are trying to make it easier to become an alcohol and drug counselor in Vermont.

As the country struggles with the opioid crisis, we're talking about pain management with a local expert.
ChesiireCat / iStock

As the state and the country struggle with the opioid crisis, there is a renewed public focus on the treatment of pain. We're talking with a top local expert about the full landscape of pain management - opioids, but also other methods of treatment - and how doctors balance risk and benefit. 

We've learned a lot about how devastating opiate addiction is for families and communities but on the next Vermont Edition, we're taking the conversation about addiction to the cellular level.

Lori Claffee is a member of the Union/Park Neighborhood Association which has been working to take back a neighborhood in Springfield. She is standing in front of a demolition site where a nuisance house was torn down.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

Neighborhood activists, who are trying to clean up one of Springfield's toughest neighborhoods, say they'll only be able to tackle the problem one building at a time.

Kay Curtis sets up the new childcare center at the Brattleboro Retreat which is for the children of opioid adicts who are receiving their treatment.
Howard Weiss-Tisman / VPR

There were 11 overdoses in Brattleboro over the Fourth of July weekend, and as eye-popping as that number is, officials who are dealing with the opioid crisis every day say they weren't surprised.

At a news conference announcing Aspenti Health's new name, Gov. Phil Scott praised company officials for saving the company's 140 jobs, and for their continued work in drug prevention and treatment.
Taylor Dobbs / VPR

The company formerly known as Burlington Labs has a new name: Aspenti Health.

mark wragg / Thinkstock

As the country and the state struggle with the opiate crisis, Vermont is taking action by zeroing in on one way that people can initially get hooked: narcotics that are legitimately prescribed by physicians for pain.

Whether its limiting the number of pills in a prescription or accessing treatment and therapy, insurance providers play a central role in the opioid crisis.
Fuse / Thinkstock

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.

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