Wednesday, a joint hearing of the House Judiciary and Human Services committees sat down to address Vermont's growing methamphetamine problem. The discussion began last month as legislators reviewed the merits of one proposal. Now, bill by bill, they're trying to knit together about a dozen measures into one plan.
"We realized there's a bigger picture here," said Rep. Andy Donaghy, R-Poultney.
"Just realized we needed to address it as a really comprehensive approach," said Rep. Anne Donahue, R-Northfield.
The committees focused on monitoring cold medications that can be used to synthesize meth. The proposal before them would require pharmacies to connect to an online registry, alerting clerks if individuals have already made similar purchases elsewhere. The model is based off a recently enacted Maine law.
"You've got an educated workforce, put us to work," said Ronald Klein, the executive officer at the Vermont Board of Pharmacy.
Klein says customers shouldn't need a prescription to obtain cold meds. However, he says adding a requirement for a consultation with the pharmacist upon purchase would further dissuade criminals.
And Vermont State Police demonstrated to legislators the signs and science behind makeshift labs. Law enforcement's right to access the registry represents one of the few divides between legislators Wednesday.
"We need to help law enforcement, not put barriers in front of them," Donaghy said.
"Clearly the police do need to have access in situations where there's evidence of a crime and they can get a warrant to do that," Donahue said.
The core concept is simple, but legislators say crafting a comprehensive measure that deals with opiate addiction, diversion and maintains the adequacy of pain medications would be an enormous accomplishment.
Friday, May 24 2013 7:17 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:17:06 GMT
It was a storm that left residents with more damage than they could have ever imagined. "The basement has about 13 inches of water," said Bob Genter of Underhill. And preparing for the aftermath of theMore >>
Flash floods left destruction across the region. And the rain is not over. Heavy downpours left some people trapped in their neighborhoods as emergency crews work to try to clear the roads.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:17 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:17:32 GMT
Vermont State Police say the following roads have been closed due to flooding:UNDERHILL: VERMONT ROUTE 15, CILLEYHILL POKER HILL ROAD NORTH UNDERHILL STATION ROAD PAIGE ROAD DAUDLIN ROAD BROWNS TRACE,More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:20 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:20:50 GMT
As the cleanup gets underway from Thursday night's flash flooding, the focus shifts now to the broader impacts of rising rivers from around the region. All the rain so far and more to come is running intoMore >>
All the rain is running into larger streams and rivers that are moving rapidly toward flood stage.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 12:44 PM EDT2013-05-24 16:44:50 GMT
Heavy rains have caused more flooding problems around our region, and the situation could get worse as the rain continues to fall over the holiday weekend. So far, the impact has mainly been seen in roadMore >>
Heavy rains have caused more flooding problems around our region, and the situation could get worse as the rain continues to fall over the holiday weekend.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 9:51 AM EDT2013-05-24 13:51:55 GMT
Over the river and throught the woods isn't just the way to grandma's house, its the way a lot of people are having to travel just to make it to their front door. Dormant brooks and sleepy streams turnedMore >>
Strong rains Thursday flooded roads in Essex.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:25 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:25:14 GMT
A rainy Vermont City Marathon forecast isn't slowing down runners or organizers. "Well, we're going to make some liquid sunshine out of all of this rain. That's the only choice we've got right now," saidMore >>
The countdown is on to this weekend's Vermont City Marathon and final preps are underway. Those finishing touches are coming in the rain, but organizers say the weather isn't slowing things down.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 4:24 PM EDT2013-05-24 20:24:06 GMT
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex. The parade is held annually on the Saturday morning of the holiday weekend. But after all the rain and flooding damageMore >>
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 12:48 PM EDT2013-05-24 16:48:57 GMT
The heavy rains have left a lot of people with flooded basements. We want to remind people of potential dangers before tackling that mess. First, shut off power to all basement appliances. Don't touchMore >>
The heavy rains have left a lot of people with flooded basements. We want to remind people of potential dangers before tackling that mess.More >>