Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin (D) spent his entire State of the State address talking about the state’s growing heroin problem. “You will hear from me on many of these topics next week when I present my budget. Today I will focus exclusively on another matter of great concern to our state’s future,” Shumlin said. “The crisis I am talking about is the rising tide of drug addiction and drug-related crime spreading across Vermont.”
Specifically, Shumlin said:
In every corner of our state, heroin and opiate drug addiction threatens us. It threatens the safety that has always blessed our state. It is a crisis bubbling just beneath the surface that may be invisible to many, but is already highly visible to law enforcement, medical personnel, social service and addiction treatment providers, and too many Vermont families. It requires all of us to take action before the quality of life that we cherish so much is compromised.
Shumlin called the problems facing Vermont a “full-blown heroin crisis.” He told stories of young Vermonters becoming addicted to Oxycontin, destroying their lives and altering their “moral compass.” He stated, “Heroin is a drug that does not only grip those who are born into poverty….We must address it as a public health crisis, providing treatment and support, rather than simply doling out punishment, claiming victory, and moving onto our next conviction.”
Shumlin called for more spending on drug rehabilitation and treatment.