"To hear the stories on a grander scale-- more people and the depth of the pain and the costs-- it was an education tonight," said Pat Hunter of Rutland.
Hunter says even after living in Rutland for more than a decade she was surprised by some of the stories of addiction at a public forum Wednesday evening. But the real focus of the event was the cost of addiction.
"We do a lot of work, everybody knows it's a problem, but the more I started digging, I said I bet everybody doesn't know exactly how expensive it is. And what the real costs-- both dollars and cents-- in society is how far the tentacles spread," said Sen. Eldred French, D-Rutland County.
French says many families across the state are devastated by drug and alcohol addictions. But how much do those addictions cost? Panelists began answer that question by breaking down the issue, starting with the kids.
"If I am a 10-year-old student in the sixth-grade and I am going to go six more years at school at $140,000 a year, it's an additional, let's say, million dollars," said Rob Bliss, the assistant superintendent of Rutland schools.
Bliss says rough estimates show that children raised in families struggling with addiction need extra help. And that can cost more than $100,000 per year in additional services.
"The actual medical costs we are seeing are far greater with alcohol dependence because more of the population uses alcohol," said Barbara Cimaglio of the Vt. Department of Health.
Although the numbers are much higher for alcohol abuse compared to drug abuse in state hospitals, Vermont health officials say last year the state spent more than $28 million treating alcohol addiction. The price tag continues to rise when the costs of law enforcement, the court system and the department of corrections are factored in.
French says when those numbers are tallied, the outcome is staggering.
"We are working for a while thinking about costs and they were talking about the B word in the state of Vermont, as in billion," French said.
French also says it is important to realize the costs of these addictions affect everyone. Even if it's not your friend or next-door neighbor with an addiction, come tax time, all Vermonters will be paying the bill.
Monday, December 9 2013 5:58 AM EST2013-12-09 10:58:56 GMT
An American singer with Vermont ties is making waves with her music halfway across the globe. Jennifer Grout has emerged as the unlikely singing sensation on the overseas reality show Arabs Got Talent. UnlikelyMore >>
An American singer with Vermont ties is making waves with her music halfway across the globe.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 5:51 AM EST2013-12-09 10:51:48 GMT
Usually the Lake Placid Volunteer Ambulance Service is busy saving lives or responding to emergencies. But right now, members are selling Christmas trees to raise money for the finishing touches on theirMore >>
Many different groups sell Christmas trees this time of year to raise money for their organization. And for the third year, that includes an ambulance service.More >>
Monday, December 9 2013 5:44 AM EST2013-12-09 10:44:43 GMT
Police say a Killington driver hit and killed a New Hamphire man. They say 26-year-old Kyle Wilson of Enfield went out for a walk overnight Saturday in Killington and never came back. Friends went outMore >>
Police say a Killington driver hit and killed a New Hamphire man.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 11:56 PM EST2013-12-09 04:56:59 GMT
An Enfield, New Hampshire man is dead. And a Killington driver has been charged in connection with the death. It happened Saturday night on the Killington Road. Police say 26-year-old Kyle Wilson wentMore >>
An Enfield, New Hampshire man is dead. And a Killington driver has been charged in connection with the death. More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 10:36 PM EST2013-12-09 03:36:50 GMT
A Burlington congregation made a short pilgrimage to it's new home Sunday. The Christ Presbyterian Church has leased property from the University of Vermont for the last 35 years. But UVM has decidedMore >>
The Christ Presbyterian Church has leased property from the University of Vermont for the last 35 years. But UVM has decided not to renew its lease.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 10:35 PM EST2013-12-09 03:35:27 GMT
The 5th annual Festival of Trees in St. Albans is helping to feed the hungry this holiday season. Thirty decorated trees are on display in City Hall. Some of the trees have been auctioned off and theMore >>
Thirty decorated trees are on display in City Hall. Some of the trees have been auctioned off and the rest will be given away at a raffle.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 10:02 PM EST2013-12-09 03:02:41 GMT
Burlington Police are looking for two suspects involved in an assault and robbery.It happened on Front Street Sunday afternoon. The victim told police he was held up at gunpoint by two African AmericanMore >>
Burlington Police are looking for two suspects involved in an assault and robbery.More >>
Sunday, December 8 2013 9:34 PM EST2013-12-09 02:34:59 GMT
"It was always a lot of fun. It was a great way to dress up and have a fancy party -- something that we usually didn't get to go to, big fancy events," said Ann Cunningham. Cunningham, a native of Burlington,More >>
How do you spread holiday cheer? For decades, one Vermont family has kept up a tradition to throw a christmas party for hundreds of families in need.More >>