"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.
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:43 PM EDT2014-03-10 02:43:23 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:56 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:56:33 GMT
Flags were flying on the Statehouse steps Sunday afternoon as more than 500 people gathered for the Gun Owners of Vermont Rally."Vermonters -- not just hunting Vermonters who happen to have firearms forMore >>
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Sunday, March 9 2014 7:43 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:43:32 GMT
Is the marketing behind Electronic Cigarettes aimed at kids?New York Senator Chuck Schumer (D-New York) says the industry's trendy packaging and flavors like bubble gum and cotton candy aren't foolingMore >>
Schumer is co-sponsoring a Senate bill that would ban e-cigarette marketing aimed at kids.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:42 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:42:02 GMT
Senator Bernie Sanders is among a group of Senators set to hold an "all-nighter" to call attention to climate Change.Members of the so-called Senate Climate Action Task Force -- nearly two dozen in allMore >>
Senator Bernie Sanders is among a group of Senators set to hold an "all-nighter" to call attention to climate Change.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:40 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:40:46 GMT
A Chimney fire is the likely cause of a blaze that destroyed a home in St. Albans Town.The owner of the home on Pike Drive called for help a little after 9:30 a.m. Sunday. When firefighters arrived theyMore >>
A Chimney fire is the likely cause of a blaze that destroyed a home in St. Albans Town.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 7:38 PM EDT2014-03-09 23:38:52 GMT
Jazz fingers, dance moves -- and plenty of passion. The Urban Reach Dance Convention is giving aspiring dancers the chance to learn from some of the music industry's most acclaimed teachers, who have workedMore >>
Aspiring dancers hit the floor this weekend at the 8th annual Urban Reach Dance Convention.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 6:08 PM EDT2014-03-09 22:08:59 GMT
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County. CCTA officials told us in a statement that after 19 hours of negotiations that went into the morningMore >>
Sunday morning CCTA officials announced that after a marathon negotiation session they delivered a complete contract proposal to the union.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 2:52 PM EDT2014-03-09 18:52:05 GMT
Governor Peter Shumlin was in Rhode Island over the weekend. His office says the Governor was at Brown University in Providence taking part in a forum with the Rhode Island Governor. He is expected toMore >>
Governor Peter Shumlin was in Rhode Island over the weekend.More >>