YCQM: January 14, 2014 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

YCQM: January 14, 2014

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

>> Announcer: FROM VERMONT'S MOST TRUSTED NEWS SOURCE, WCAX BRINGS YOU YOUR NEWSMAKERS, YOUR NEIGHBORS. THIS IS "YOU CAN QUOTE ME."

>>> AND GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE. AND THANK YOU FOR JOINING US. OUR GUEST THIS SUNDAY IS GOVERNOR PETER SHUMLIN ON THE HEELS OF HIS SPEECH IN MONTPELIER, WE TALK STATE OF THE STATE. LET'S BEGIN WITH THIS REPORT FROM KYLE MIDURA.

>> THANK YOU, THANK YOU.

>> WEDNESDAY, GOVERNOR PETER SHUMLIN DELIVERED HIS ANNUAL ASSESSMENT OF VERMONT'S PRESENT AND FUTURE.

>> THE STATE OF OUR STATE IS STRONG AND GROWING STRONGER.

>> FOR THE SECOND STRAIGHT YEAR, THE GOVERNOR SPENT NEARLY HIS INTOIR SPEECH ON ONE ISSUE. LAST YEAR HE SPOKE OF EDUCATION. THIS YEAR, HE SAYS OPIATE ABUSE POSES A BIGGER CHALLENGE THAN TROPICAL STORM IRENE DID.

>> IT REQUIRES ALL OF US TO TAKE ACTION BEFORE THE QUALITY OF LIFE THAT WE CHERISH SO MUCH IS COMPROMISED.

>> THE GOVERNOR UNVEILED SEVERAL STATISTICS, LIKE THE DOUBLING OF OPIATE-RELATED DEATHS OVER THE LAST YEAR, INDICATING ABUSE REMAINS ON THE RISE IN VERMONT. HE PROPOSES A FOUR-POINT PLAN TO STEM THE GROWTH. ONE, FUND MORE TREATMENT TO SHORTEN WAIT TIMES FOR THOSE DESIRING HELP. TWO, SPEED THE JUDICIAL PROCESS, ALLOWING DRUG OFFENDERS TO QUICK ENTER PROGRAMS WHILE STILL COMMITTED TO CHANGING THEIR BEHAVIOR. THREE, TOUGHER PUNISHMENTS TO OUT-OF-STATE DRUG RUNNERS AND BURGLARS WHO CARRY A WEAPON. AND FOUR, CROWD SOURCE IDEAS FOR ADDICTION IN THE FIRST PLACE.

>> YOU DON'T HAVE TO BE A MATH MAJOR TO REALIZE YOU CANNOT AFFORD OUR CURRENT PATH.

>> HE PROPOSING FUNDING JUST LESS THAN $2 MILLION IN NEW SPENDING. NOTING PREVENTION IS FAR CHEAPER THAN TREATMENT OR INCARCERATION FOR BOTH THE ADDICT AND THE STATE. THE APPROXIMATELY $2 MILLION THAT GOVERNOR SHUMLIN HAS ASKED TO HAVE SET ASIDE WOULD CURRENTLY INCREASE THE BUDGET CURRENTLY SPENT ON ADDICTION ISSUES BY ABOUT 25%.

>> AND GOVERNOR SHUMLIN JOINS US NOW. THANKS FOR BEING HERE.

>> GREAT TO BE WITH YOU THIS MORNING. THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

>> AND JENNIFER READING HAS BEEN COVERING ADDICTION PROBLEMS DOING EXTENSIVE REPORTING AND SHE KICKS OFF THE COVERAGE THIS MORNING.

>> GOVERNOR, WE HEARD PARTS OF YOUR SPEECH JUST A MOMENT AGO AND I'M CURIOUS WHY YOU CHOSE TO FOCUS ON THIS TOPIC.

>> I FEEL STRONGLY AFTER LISTENING TO VERMONTERS, SEEING THE CRIME RATE AND THE HARM CREATED BY THIS DRUG NOT ONLY TO THE USERS BUT THE FOLKS WHO ARE THE VICTIMS OF THE CRIME, THAT THIS IS THE ONE ISSUE THAT COULD REALLY COMPROMISE OUR QUALITY OF LIFE, AND I HAVE SAID CONTINUOUSLY AND I KNOW VERMONTERS KNOW THIS, THAT WE'VE GOT THE BEST QUALITY OF LIFE IN THE COUNTRY. THIS COULD UNDERMINE IT. THE VERMONT THAT WE KNOW WILL BE DESTROYED IF WE CONTINUE TO HAVE THE KIND OF INCREASES IN OPIATE AND HEROIN ADDICTION THAT WE'RE CONFRONTING ALL OVER VERMONT. AND YOU KNOW, IT'S ALL OVER. I MEAN, WE SOMETIMES THINK OF THIS AS BEING JUST A LOW-INCOME PROBLEM, YOU KNOW. THIS IS THE NORTH END OF BURLINGTON, YES, ALSO SPEAR STREET IN A TOWN WHERE I WAS BORN, AND IT'S CANAL STREET, BUT ALSO OAK STREET, IT'S HITTING ALL INCOME CLASSES, HITTING ALL COMMUNITIES LARGE AND SMALL. WE GOT FIX IT.

>> DO YOU THINK THAT YOUR STEEMP RESONATED WITH VERMONTERS WHO MAYBE AREN'T AFFECTED BY OPIATE ADDICTION? DO YOU THINK THEY GOT THE MESSAGE YOU WERE TRYING TO SEND OUT?

>> I THINK MY JOB AS GOVERNOR IS TO TALK ABOUT THE CHALLENGES WE'RE CONFRONTING AND THERE AREN'T TOO MANY GOVERNORS THAT ARE ANXIOUS TO TALK ABOUT THIS ONE. LET'S BE CANDID ABOUT IT. WHEN YOU START START TALKING ABOUT TREATING OPIATE AND DRUG ADDICTION AS A DISEASE, YOU KNOW, AS A PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE INSTEAD OF THINKING THAT WE CAN JUST BEAT IT BY ISSUING MORE ARRESTS AND CLAIMING VICTORY, IT'S NOT THE KIND OF THINGS THAT POLITICIANS LIKE TO DO BECAUSE THERE'S A LOT OF RISK IN THAT. YOU KNOW, IF SOMETHING GOES WRONG, IF WE CHOOSE TO GIVE TREATMENT TO SOMEONE WHO SHOULD HAVE BEEN INCARCERATED, THERE'S ALWAYS THE FEAR. SO WHAT I'M SAYING IS LISTEN, VERMONT, OUR QUALITY OF LIFE IS TOO IMPORTANT TO US. OUR FAMILIES ARE TOO IMPORTANT TO US. WE'VE GOT TOO MANY FAMILIES CONFRONTING THIS CHALLENGE. SO I THINK YOU'RE ASKING A GOOD QUESTION, JENNIFER, BUT THE ANSWER IS FOR A LOT OF VERMONTERS, THIS IS BUBBLING BENEATH THE SURFACE, BUT FOR TOO MANY, CERTAINLY THE JUDICIAL BRANCH, LAW ENFORCEMENT, DRUG AND ALCOHOL TREATMENT PROVIDERS, SOCIAL SERVICE PROVIDERS AND FRANKLY TOO MANY VERMONT FAMILIES, THEY LIVE IN THIS EVERY SINGLE DAY WITH A FRIEND, A NEIGHBOR OR A FAMILY MEMBER.

>> THIS IS NOT A NEW ISSUE. THIS IS A PERENNIAL TOPIC, IF YOU WILL, THAT COMES UP YEAR AFTER YEAR IN VERMONT. WHEN WE'RE FACING A $70 MILLION BUDGET GAP, PROBLEMS WITH THE ROLLOUT OF HEALTH CONNECT, WHY THIS ISSUE THIS YEAR?

>> WELL, YOU HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT GOVERNORS HAVE TO BE ABLE TO JUGGLE MORE TAN ONE BALL AT A TIME AND LAND THEM AND NEXT WEEK I'LL BE GIVING MY BUDGET ADDRESS, ADDRESSING MANY OF THE ISSUES YOU JUST TALKED ABOUT. I GAVE A MAJOR HEALTHCARE ADDRESS ON TUESDAY, SO YOU HAVE TO DO A LOT OF THINGS AT ONCE, BUT LISTEN, THIS ONE WE'VE GOT TO GET RIGHT. THE REASON THIS YEAR IS SO IMPORTANT IS THAT THE NUMBERS ARE SO ASTRONOMICAL. WE HAVE SEEN THE NUMBER OF DRUG BUSTS, HEROIN DEALERS IN THIS STATE GO UP 700%, ALMOST 800% SINCE THE YEAR 2000. WE'VE SEEN THE NUMBER OF PEOPLE BEING TREATED GO UP BY 280% JUST IN THE LAST FEW YEARS. YOU KNOW, ANYONE THAT THINKS THAT THIS ISN'T A BIG PROBLEM REALLY IS IN DENIAL. SO WE'VE GOT TO BE WILLING TO SAY, AS A STATE, LISTEN, WE'VE GOT IDEAS TO BEGIN TO TREAT THIS DRUG MORE AGGRESSIVELY, THIS CHALLENGE MORE AGGRESSIVELY, TO FIND WAYS TO GET THE FOLKS WHO WANT TO BE TREATED INTO TREATMENT, WHICH WE CAN'T DO RIGHT NOW BECAUSE OUR WAITING LISTS ARE TOO LONG, AND COME UP WITH BETTER LAW ENFORCEMENT TOOLS. AS YOU KNOW, I PROPOSED TWO THINGS. ONE IS STRENGTHENING, ENHANCING PENALTIES FOR DRUG DEALERS BRINGING THIS STUFF, IN SO BUST THEM AND LET'S BE SERIOUS ABOUT SENDING THEM A MESSAGE, THIS IS NOT A STATE WHERE YOU CAN COME IN AND PREY ON OUR VERMONTERS AND TURN THEM INTO ADDICTS FOR YOUR PROFIT. SO STRENGTHENED PENALTIES, COMBINED WITH WHAT I THINK IS GOOD VERMONT COMMON SENSE, WHICH IS IF SOMEONE BREAKS INTO YOUR HOME TO STEAL YOUR THINGS TO FEED THEIR HABIT WITH A WEP POP, THEY'RE GOING TO FACE ENHANCED CRIMINAL PENALTIES. COMBINING THAT WITH TREATMENT AND THE TREATMENT FACILITIES TO GET NEW FOLKS FROM ADDICTION TO RECOVERY IS OUR BEST HOPE.

>> LET'S TAKE A LISTEN TO WHAT SOME FOLKS WHO WERE LISTENING IN THE CHAMBERS HAD TO SAY FOLLOWING YOUR STATE OF THE STATE.

>> THANKS.

>> GOVERNOR SHUMLIN SHOWED AN ENORMOUS AMOUNT OF COURAGE IN ADVOCATING TO TREAT ADDICTION, NOT ONLY A PUBLIC SAFETY ISSUE, BUT REALLY A PUBLIC HEALTH ISSUE.

>> CURSORY SORT OF COMMENTS ABOUT THE ECONOMY AND EDUCATION, WE'RE JUST NOT -- I DON'T THINK THAT WAS -- I THINK IT WAS A MISSED OPPORTUNITY FOR THE GOVERNOR TO TALK ABOUT SOME OTHER ISSUES THAT VERMONTERS ARE REALLY TRYING TO GET ANSWERS TO.

>> I THOUGHT HE DID A TREMENDOUS JOB OF OUTLINING THE CHALLENGE AHEAD OF US AND I THINK HE GAVE US SOME FIRM DIRECTION FROM THE BILL THAT A NUMBER OF US INTRODUCED HAVING TO DO WITH RISK ASSESSMENTS AND OTHER THINGS.

>> WHAT YOU DID NOT HEAR IN THE GOVERNOR'S SPEECH WAS ANY DISCUSSION ABOUT HOW WE'RE GOING TO GNS THIS PLAN. -- FINANCE THIS PLAN. IT IS WONDERFUL TO TALK ABOUT THE ABSTRACT CONCEPT OF A PROBLEM THAT NEEDS TO BE CORRECTED, BUT WHEN YOU GET DOWN TO THE PRACTICAL REALITY OF LEARNING HOW TO ADDRESS IT, WE HAVEN'T GOT THERE YET.

>> REACTION REALLY ALONG PARTY LINES THERE. HOW DO YOU RESPOND?

>> YOU KNOW, I REALLY HOPE THAT THIS WILL BE A BIPARTISAN ISSUE AND, FRANKLY, MOST OF THE LEGISLATORS THAT I HEARD FROM ARE SAYING, YOU KNOW, THEY MAY NOT -- THEY MIGHT QUIBBLE OVER THIS POINT OR THAT POINT AND THAT'S OBVIOUSLY THEIR JOB, BUT I THINK WE'RE HEARING BIPARTISAN RESPONSE. WE HAVE A PROBLEM, WE GOT TO ADDRESS IT, AND IT'S TIME TO BE SERIOUS ABOUT IT AND THIS IS SO CRITICAL. I MEAN, ONE THING THAT -- I'M THE FIRST GOVERNOR, AS YOU KNOW, IN MANY, MANY YEARS THAT'S BORN AND RAISED IN THIS STATE. ONE THING WE ALL CHERISH IS OUR SAFETY AND OUR SECURITY AND WE LIVE HERE BECAUSE OF THE QUALITY OF LIFE, NOT DESPITE IT. THIS IS THE ONE ISSUE THAT COULD REALLY CHANGE THE QUALITY OF LIFE IN THIS STATE. THINK ABOUT THE ECONOMICS OF THIS DISEASE. YOU GET ADDICTED, YOU BECOME ADDICTED. YOU BUY THIS STUFF, HEROIN, FOR SIX, EIGHT, TEN BUCKS A BAG DOWN IN NEW YORK, PHILADELPHIA, POINTS SOUTH. YOU GO A FEW HOURS UP THE HIGHWAY AND YOU CAN SELL IT FOR 20 OR $30 A BAG, SO THESE DEALERS ARE LOOKING TO COME UP HERE AND MAKE A LOT OF LOOT. NOW, WHAT THEY TEND TO DO, AND I DIDN'T SAY THIS IN THE SPEECH, BUT THEY'RE OFTEN COMING IN, GIVE IT TO YOU FOR A FEW WEEKS, BE YOUR FRIEND, GIVE YOU THIS STUFF. YOU'RE ADDICTED, YOU'RE HOOKED, YOU GOT A LIFETIME BATTLE AND IT COSTS TENS OF THOUSANDS OF DOLLARS AT 20, 30 BUCKS A BAG TO SUPPORT THE HABIT. SO IF YOU'RE LOOKING AT 40, 50, 60,000 BUCKS A YEAR TO SUPPORT A DRUG HABIT BEFORE YOU PUT A ROOF OVER YOUR HEAD, SNEAKERS ON THE KIDS AND FOOD ON THE TABLE, YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT IN MANY CASES A LOT OF CRIME. SO THIS REALLY IS THE HEART AND SOUL OF OUR STATE, AND WE'VE GOT AN OPPORTUNITY TO ADDRESS IT, CHANGE THE DYNAMICS. EVERYONE FROM THE CHIEF JUSTICE OF THE SUPREME COURT, HE'S A HUGE SUPPORTER OF THIS ISSUE, SAYING WE'VE GOT TO STOP THINKING THAT WE CAN DEAL WITH THIS WITH LAW ENFORCEMENT, WE HAVE TO START BRINGING GOOD VERMONT COMMON SENSE TO THE EQUATION. THE PLAN I PUT FORWARD, TO MOVE FOLKS TO TREATMENT, TO CHANGE THE JUDICIAL PROCESS. WHEN YOU'RE BUSTED, THE BLUE LIGHTS ARE ON, FLASHING, AND YOU HIT ROCK BOTTOM, ALL THE EVIDENCE SUGGESTS THAT'S THE CHANCE TO GET THESE FOLKS WHO ARE THE BEST LIARS YOU'LL EVER MEET, TO ACTUALLY CONFRONT THEIR DISEASE. SO INSTEAD OF JUST SLAMMING THEM IN JAIL, WE'RE SAYING, LISTEN, THE PROSECUTORS WILL HAVE THE RESOURCES PAID FOR BY US TO GET A THIRD PARTY ASSESSMENT TO FIGURE OUT WHETHER YOU'RE A KILL YES, SOMEONE WE SHOULD BE AFRAID OF AND LOCK UP, OR WHETHER YOU'RE SOMEONE WE SHOULD BE DISAPPOINTED AND MAD AT AND GET INTO TREATMENT. IF YOU GO INTO TREATMENT, COMPLY BY THE STRICT STANDARDS, YOU'LL NEVER FACE PROSECUTION. YOU GET THEM IN TREATMENT AND BEGIN THE HEALTHCARE RECOVERY PROCESS THAT HAS TO HAPPEN. IF THE PROSECUTORS CHOOSE NOT TO DO THAT, WE'RE GOING TO GIVE THE JUDGES THE SECOND BITE AT THE APPLE, THE SAME THIRD-PARTY REPORT, THEY CAN GO THROUGH THE SAME PROCESS. IMMEDIATELY SAY YOU'RE GOING TO TREATMENT AND IF YOU GO IN, WE'LL CONSIDER THAT AT SENTENCING, BUT YOU HAVE TO STICK BY THE TREATMENT PROGRAM. THAT'S MUCH MORE LIKELY TO MOVE FOLKS INTO TREATMENT, INTO RECOVERY AT THE TIME WHEN THEY'RE MOST VULNERABLE. THE CHITTENDEN COUNTY STATES ATTORNEY HAS BEEN DOING THIS IN CHIT KEN COUNTY NOW A COUPLE OF YEARS. IT'S MEETING GOOD RESULTS. OUR PROSECUTOR IN ADDISON COUNTY DOING EXACTLY THE SAME PROCESS. I KNOW WE CAN DO THIS, WE CAN DO IT MUCH SMARTER THROUGH THE JUDICIARY, LAW ENFORCEMENT AND OUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS.

>> NO DOUBT THIS ADDICTION IS EXPENSIVE AND THE APPROACH IS EXPENSIVE AS WELL. HOW ARE WE GOING TO PAY FOR IT?

>> WELL, LISTEN TO THESE NUMBERS FOR A SECOND BECAUSE, YOU KNOW, I SAID YESTERDAY OR WHENEVER IT WAS, SEVERAL DAYS AGO AND I MEANT IT, IF YOU PUT ASIDE YOUR HEART FOR A MINUTE AND JUST LISTEN TO THE MATH, USE YOUR HEAD, IT'S PRETTY STARTLING. THE NUMBERS ARE STARTLING. OUR PRISON SPENDING HAS BEEN DOUBLED IN THIS STATE IN THE LAST NINE YEARS. WE NOW SPEND MORE IN PRISONS THAN WE DO ON HIGHER EDUCATION FOR OUR KIDS IN THIS STATE. IT COSTS $1130 TO PUT SOMEONE IN PRISON FOR A WEEK IN VERMONT. 1130 BUCKS A WEEK. IT COSTS $123 A WEEK TO PUT SOMEONE IN ONE OF OUR STATE-SPONSORED TREATMENT PROGRAMS. SO, YOU KNOW, WE CAN'T AFFORD NOT TO DO THIS. I MEAN, THE FACT OF THE MATTER IS WE'RE DOUBLING PRISON SPENDING IN NINE YEARS. 80% OF OUR INCARCERATED POPULATION, 80% OF THE FOLKS IN VERMONT PRISONS ARE IN ON ADDICTION-RELATED CHARGES. SO MY VIEW IS EVEN IF YOU THROW YOUR HEART AWAY AND FORGET THAT THIS IS DESTROYING OUR KIDS' LIVES, UNDERMINING THEIR ABILITY TO HAVE A PRODUCTIVE LIFE, FROM A FINANCIAL DOLLARS AND CENTS FOR TAXPAYERS, IT WILL DROWN US IF WE KEEP DEALING WITH IT THE WAY WE ARE, WE CANNOT SPEND OUR WAY OUT OF THIS PROBLEM. SO I'M SAYING THIS IS A CHEAPER SOLUTION AND A MORE HUMANE ONE.

>> YOU HEARD SOME REPUBLICANS CURIOUS ABOUT WHY OTHER TOPICS WERE IN THE ADDRESSED IN THE STATE OF THE STATE. PREVIOUS GOVERNORS HAVE TACKLED NUMEROUS ISSUES THROUGHOUT THAT OPPORTUNITY, THIS RITUAL IN THE STATE. WHY JUST THE ONE ISSUE? YOU HAVE THE STAGE, THE STATE IS YOUR STAGE AT THAT POINT TO ADDRESS SOME OF THESE OTHER TOPICS. WHY JUST THE ONE THOUGH?

>> WELL, YOU KNOW, FIRST OF ALL, LET'S REMEMBER THAT THIS ISN'T A SINGLE ISSUE. ONE OF THE THINGS THAT'S DRIVING FOLKS TO ADDICTION IS A LACK OF HOPE AND A LACK OF OPPORTUNITY. WE'VE GOT TO ACKNOWLEDGE THAT. SO WHEN I TALK ABOUT CREATING JOBS, AND WE'VE NOW GOT THE FIFTH UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN AMERICA, THE LOWEST UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN NEW ENGLAND, THE LOWEST UNEMPLOYMENT RATE IN THE NORTHEAST AND, IN FACT, THE LOWEST UNEMPLOYMENT RATE THIS SIDE OF THE MISSISSIPPI, WE'VE CREATED 11,000 JOBS SINCE I BECAME GOVERNOR THREE YEARS AGO, SO WE'RE MAKING PROGRESS THERE, BUT WE HAVE TO REMEMBER THAT OUR ECONOMIC PROSPERITY AND JOB GROWTH IN VERMONT DEPENDS UPON OUR MOVING EVERYBODY BEYOND HIGH SCHOOL BECAUSE YOU CAN'T GET A GOOD JOB IN THIS ECONOMY ANYMORE IF YOU JUST HAVE A HIGH SCHOOL DEGREE. OUR BIG GE CHALLENGE IS WE'RE NOT MOVING ENOUGH LOW-INCOME KIDS BEYOND HIGH SCHOOL AND MY PLAN TO EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION, HIGHER EDUCATION FOR ALL, REVAMPING THE EDUCATION SYSTEM, ENSURING WE HAVE GOOD CLEAN, RENEWABLE ENERGY IN THIS STATE, HEALTHCARE WE CAN AFFORD FOR EVERYBODY, ALL OF THOSE ARE RELATED TO JOB GROWTH, SO AS I MENTIONED IN THE SPEECH, YOU CAN'T DIVORCE THE TWO. IF WE CAN CREATE MORE HOPE AND OPPORTUNITY THROUGH JOBS, JOBS WILL BE THE BEST PREVENTION TO OPIATE ADDICTION THAT WE CAN POSSIBLY COME UP. SO I THINK IF ANYONE THINKS IT'S A SINGLE ISSUE SPEECH, I TRIED TO LINK IT TO ALL THE OTHER CHALLENGES WE HAVE CREATING JOBS, HOPE, AND OPPORTUNITY FOR ALL VERMONTERS, NOT JUST THOSE BORN INTO PROSPERITY.

>> GOVERNOR, WE NEED TO TAKE A BRIEF BRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBRBR talking with Gove

>>> AND WELCOME BACK. WE'RE TALKING WITH GOVERNOR PETER SHUMLIN THIS MORNING ABOUT OPIATE ADDICTION, THE FOCUS OF HIS STATE OF THE STATE ADDRESS.

>> GOVERNOR, WE TAKE A MORE PERSONAL LOOK INSIDE THE EPIDEMIC. I SPOKE WITH A MOM HERE IN VERMONT STRUGGLING WITH ADDICTION AND THOSE WITHIN THE COURT SYSTEM TRYING TO HELP HER HEAL.

>> I STARTED USING IT WHEN I WAS YOUNG AND IT DEFINITELY RUINED MY LIFE.

>> JANE IS TALKING ABOUT HEROIN. SHE ASKED ME NOT REVEAL HER REAL IDENTITY BECAUSE OF THE STIGMA STILL ATTACHED TO OPIATE ADDICTION.

>> I WAS IN AND OUT OF JAIL, STEALING TO SUPPORT MY HABIT AND THAT'S ALL I CARED ABOUT WAS MY HABIT.

>> JANE IS A 31-YEAR-OLD MOTHER OF TWO. SUBSTANCE ABUSE SPECIALISTS SAY SHE'S THE CLASSIC CASE. SHE STARTED USING HEROIN AT 16 AND STILL STRUGGLES WITH OPIATE ADDICTION AS AN ADULT. AND SHE'S CERTAINLY NOT ALONE. THERE WERE 54 OPIATE-RELATED DEATHS IN VERMONT IN 2012. 85% OF THOSE FATALITIES LINKED TO PRESCRIPTION PAIN KILLERS. THE OTHER 15% TO HEROIN. AND THE LATEST NUMBERS SHOW THE STATE LIKELY SURPASSED THAT RATE IN 2013. 43 VERMONTERS DIED IN THE FIRST SEVEN MONTHS FROM OPIATES.

>> PEOPLE SORT OF THINK OF THIS AS A LOW-INCOME SORT OF CALAMITY, BUT THERE ARE PEOPLE FROM ALL WALKS OF LIFE WHO ARE ADDICTED.

>> HE'S A RETIRED LIEUTENANT WITH THE BURLINGTON POLICE DEPARTMENT. HE SPENT YEARS IN THE DRUG UNIT WORKING TO CURB THE OPIATE EPIDEMIC.

>> EVERY YEAR IT GOES UP, CLEARLY, AND TAKES AWAY HOUSES, TAKES AWAY JOBS, TAKES AWAY FAMILIES. IT'S EVERYWHERE AND TREATMENT IS THE ANSWER.

>> IN 2012, 914 VERMONTERS WERE TREATED FOR HEROIN ADDICTION, UP 67% FROM THE DECADE BEFORE. AND IN 2000, 474 VERMONTERS GOT HELP FOR THEIR PAIN KILLER ADDICTION, TEN TIMES MORE THAN A DECADE AGO.

>> AND NOBODY WANTS TO DO THAT. THEY ALL HATE. YOU PUT ONE ON EVERY CORNER RIGHT NOW AND DOCTORS COULD BE BUSY EVERY DAY.

>> VERMONT IS EMBARKING ON A NEW APPROACH TO DRUG TREATMENT. A STATEWIDE PARTNERSHIP PAIRS CLINICIANS WITH TREATMENT CENTERS TO PROVIDE MEDICATION-ASSISTED THERAPY. ADDICTS WITH ESPECIALLY COMPLEX NEEDS WHO ALSO REQUIRE METHADONE CAN GET CARE AT SEVEN REGIONAL TREATMENT CENTERS KNOWN AS HUBS. THEY'RE LOCATED IN BURLINGTON, NEWPORT, ST. JOHNSBURY, BERLIN, BUT RAND, BRATTLEBORO. THESE HUBS ALSO CONNECT PATIENTS WITH SECONDARY SUPPORT SERVICES KNOWN AS SPOKES. THIS INCLUDES PRIMARY CARE PHYSICIANS WHO CAN PRESCRIBE A DRUG THAT HELPS WEAN PEOPLE OFF OPIATES, PEOPLE LIKE JANE.

>> I GOT ON THE TREATMENT AND IT WAS -- I NEVER WENT BACK.

>> JANE USED A DRUG TO KICK HER HEROIN HABIT SIX YEARS AGO, BUT THERE'S A CATCH.

>> I BUY OFF THE STREET, PAY $25 A DAY.

>> THAT'S BECAUSE JANE HAS BEEN ON A TREATMENT WAITING LIST FOR SEVEN MONTHS. SHE KNOWS BUYING THE TREATMENT DRUG ON THE BLACK MARKET IS ILLEGAL, BUT SHE HAS A JOB AND WITHOUT IT, SHE CAN'T WORK.

>> IT'S FRUSTRATING. SOME DAYS I HAVE TO BREAK IT IN HALF AND I DEFINITELY NOTICE A DIFFERENCE.

>> TREATMENT PROFESSIONALS SAY WITH ALL THE HUBS UP AND RUN, THE STATE IS NOW WORKING ON WHITTLING DOWN THAT WAITING LIST. CURRENTLY 640 PEOPLE WHO WANT TREATMENT CAPITAL GET IT. VERMONT'S -- CAN'T GET IT. VERMONT'S HEALTH COMMISSIONER SAYS THE STATE SPENDS MORE THAN $40 MILLION A YEAR ON TREAT ADDICTION. OPIATE OVERDOSES AND HOSPITALIZATION RACKS UP AND TWO MILLION MORE ON BABIES BORN TO ADDICTED MOMS. THEN THERE'S THE COST TO COMMUNITIES. AUTHORITIES SAY THE GROWING OPIATE PROBLEM IS FUELING CRIME ACROSS THE STATE WITH ADDICTS SPENDING BETWEEN 60 TO $800 A DAY TO FEED THEIR HABITS. JUST LAST WEEK, POLICE IN CHITTENDEN COUNTY SAY THEY CAUGHT A SERIAL PURSE SNATCHER DRIVEN BY DRUGS. SHE IS ONE EXAMPLE OF HUNDREDS CHARGED WITH PETTY CRIMES TO FUND THEIR ADDICTIONS.

>> TYPICALLY THEY'RE DESPERATE, AS IN THIS CASE, AS MOTIVATED BY DRUGS.

>> AND MANY ADDICTS END UP HERE, CLOGGING UP DOCKETS IN COUNTY COURTROOMS.

>> YOU DO THIS BUSINESS LONG ENOUGH, YOU START TO SEE THE SAME PEOPLE OVER AND OVER.

>> SO CHIT KEN COUNTY STATE'S ATTORNEY HELPED DEVELOP THE RAPID INTERVENTION COMMUNITY COURT, THE PROGRAM INTERCEPTS LOW LEVEL DRUG OFFENDERS ARRESTED FOR CRIMES LIKE DISORDERLY CONDUCT, RETAIL THEFT, UNLAWFUL TRESPASS, MISDEMEANOR DRUG POSSESSION AND FRAUD ALL BEFORE THEY ARE CHARGED. IF THEY ADMIT GUILT AND START TREATMENT BEEN 90 DAYS, THE CHARGES DISAPPEAR. IF THEY FAIL, THEY GO BACK ON THE DOCKET.

>> WE CAN CERTAINLY PUT PEOPLE IN JAIL, BUT WHEN THEY GET OUT, THE ADDICTION IS STILL THERE, SO WHAT WE'RE TRYING TO DO IS CREATE AN INTEGRATED SYSTEM OF PUBLIC HEALTH THAT INFLUENCES AND ENHANCES OUR PUBLIC SAFETY BY ADDRESSING THE ROOT CAUSE OF PEOPLE'S BEHAVIOR.

>> BUT THE PROGRAM DOESN'T LOOK ANYTHING LIKE A COURT. IT'S MORE AN OFFICE STAFFED BY THIS GUY. THE FORMER DRUG INVESTIGATOR NOW MAKING A CAREER OUT OF HELPING ADDICTS BREAK DOWN THE BARRIERS TO TREATMENT.

>> IT'S REALLY TRYING BECAUSE IT'S FINDING HELP FOR PEOPLE WHO HAVE TRIED EVERYTHING.

>> HE CURRENTLY HAS 81 OPEN CASES. HE USES A RISK ASSESSMENT TOOL TO SCREEN FOR APPROPRIATE OFFENSERS. JANE IS ONE OF THEM. PICKED UP FOR RETAIL THEFT. HER $700 A MONTH DEPENDENCY LEFT HER BROKE. SHE STOLE CHRISTMAS GIFTS. NOW JANE IS HOPING THE COMMUNITY COURT WILL HELP HER MAKE AMENDS AND GET BACK TO TRACK.

>> WHEN THEY TELL YOU AT MEETINGS IS TAKE IT ONE DAY AT A TIME AND IT'S DEFINITELY TRUE. AND TRY NOT TO GET OVERWHELMED.

>> THE RAPID COMMUNITY COURT, GOVERNOR, IS CERTAINLY A NEW AND INNOVATIVE APPROACH WE HAVEN'T TRIED BEFORE. DO YOU THINK IT'S GOING TO WORK? IT'S USED IN CHITTENDEN COUNTY AND DO YOU THINK IT SHOULD BE EXPANDED TO OTHER COUNTIES?

>> THAT'S A GREAT PIECE. MY HAT'S OFF TO THEM FOR HAVING THE KOURGE TO GET OUT THERE AND -- COURAGE TO GET OUT THERE AND GET THIS THING STARTS. THE ANSWER IS ABSOLUTELY YES AND WE CAN DO THIS NARTER AND BETTER IN VERMONT THAN ANYONE ELSE IS DOING. THAT STORY YOU JUST SAW WITH JANE, TWO THINGS. NUMBER ONE, THE FACT THAT SHE HAS TO FEEL ASHAMED AND STIGMA, WE HAVE TOS TO THAT. WE HAVE TO BE -- TO STOP THAT. WE HAVE TO BE A STATE WHERE FOLKS CAN COME OUT AND SAY I GOT A DISEASE, I NEED HELP, I'M NOT ASHAMED, I'M SICK. AND IT'S NO DIFFERENT THAN CANCER, DIABETES, OR ANY OTHER ILLNESS. JANE NEEDS HELP. THE SECOND PIECE ABOUT YOUR PIECE IS IT IS UNACCEPTABLE FOR ME AS A GOVERNOR TO HAVE A SITUATION WHERE JANE HAS TO GO BUY HER TREATMENT ON THE STREET BECAUSE THERE'S NOT ROOM FOR HER IN THE LINE TO GET THE TREATMENT AND THE COUNSELING AND HELP THEY DESERVES, SO THOSE ARE THE THINGS WE CAN FIX AND THE REASON I'M SOS ON TIS MIC THAT WE CAN GET THIS -- OPTIMISTIC THAT WE CAN GET THIS RIGHT WHILE THE REST OF THE COUNTRY WON'T TALK ABOUT IT AND TAKE THE STEPS TO DO IT IS BECAUSE WE'RE A SMALL STATE WHERE WE CARE ABOUT EACH OTHER, WE LISTEN TO EACH OTHER, WE TAKE CARE OF EACH OTHER AND THIS ISN'T THAT TOUGH A PROBLEM TO SOLVE. WE HAVE TO BRING IT OUT OF THE DARKNESS, ACKNOWLEDGE IT, AND AS I SAID YESTERDAY, WE GOT TO STOP TURNING OUR HEADS POLITELY, AND OUR EYES, TO ADDICTION IN OUR FRONT YARDS AND THEN FIGHTING TREATMENT CENTERS IN OUR BACKYARDS. LET'S LET THIS BECOME AN ISSUE, A DISEASE, AN ILLNESS YOU CAN TALK ABOUT.

>> AND IT'S INTERESTING THAT YOU JUST CALLED IT TREATMENT ON THE STREET, THAT JANE HAS TO BUY HER TREATMENT ON THE STREET BECAUSE THAT IS ONE OF THE CRITIQUES THAT I HAVE HEARD FROM THIS PIECE IS THAT SOME SAY, YOU KNOW, THE STREET IS NOT REALLY HELPING THESE PEOPLE. JUST ALLOWING THEM TO TRADE HEROIN FOR THE TREATMENT DRUG. WHAT DO YOU SAY TO THOSE CRITICS, HOW DO YOU EXPLAIN THE ISSUE?

>> THEY'RE ABSOLUTELY RIGHT, TO BE CANDID. IF WE HAVE PEOPLE LIKE JANE ON WAITING LISTS, AND WE'VE GOT OVER 500 PEOPLE WHO ARE READY FOR TREATMENT, WHO WANT TREATMENT, BUT CAN'T GET IT IN JUST CHITTENDEN COUNTY, CENTRAL VERMONT AND THE NORTHEAST KINGDOM. NOW, AS A GOVERNOR, IF I CAN'T GET THOSE TREATMENT FACILITIES WHEN FOLKS ARE ASKING AND BEGGING FOR IT, I'M NOT DOING MY JOB, PERIOD. SO THAT'S WHAT WE'RE GOING TO FIX IN THE NEXT SEVERAL MONTHS. YOU KNOW, IF YOU LISTEN TO THE STORY FROM THE HUNGRY HEART, THE FILM I TALKED ABOUT YESTERDAY BY BESS O'BRIEN, DUSTIN AS KID FROM A VERMONT DAIRY FARM, A HARD WORKING FAMILY, GOING TO SCHOOL AND IS OFFERED OXYCONTIN BY HIS FRIENDS DURING EXAMS AND HE TAKES IT AND BECOMES AN ADDICT HARD AND FAST. AND HERE'S A GUY WHO IS BRIGHT, ARTICULATE, CAPABLE, UP TO A $3800 A WEEK HABIT, STEALING FROM HIS OWN FAMILY TO FEED HIS HABIT, AND IS NOW WILLING TO GO OUT AND SAY, HEY, I GOT A DISEASE, I'M IN RECOVERY. HE'S MOVED FROM TREATMENT, AND HE'S NOT ON ANYTHING ANYMORE, MARRIED, HAS A BEAUTIFUL WIFE, A BRIGHT FUTURE. HE STRUGGLES WITH IT EVERY DAY, AS HE SAID IN THE FILM, MY ADDICTION IS WAITING FOR ME OUT IN THE DRIVEWAY EVERY SINGLE DAY, WAITING TO TAKE ME AWAY. I MEAN EVERY SINGLE DAY, IF YOU START TAKING THIS STUFF, YOU'RE GOING TO FIGHT THIS BATTLE. BUT THE POINT IS, WE CAN HAVE OUTCOMES LIKE DUSTIN WHERE HE'S BACK WORKING, MARRIED, A GOOD LIFE AND MAKING IT WORK. YOU KNOW HOW HE GOT INTO TREATMENT? HIS MOM CALLS UP -- HE'S FINALLY READY TO FACE IT AND THE TREATMENT SAID IS HE SUICIDAL? SHE SAID NO, AND THEY SAID WE CAN'T HELP YOU, WE HAVE TO TAKE THE PEOPLE SUICIDAL RIGHT NOW. SO SHE GOES TO ANOTHER CENTER AND CALLS THEM AND SAYS HE'S SUICIDEAL AND SHE GOT HIM IN THE DOOR.

>> HOW DO YOU BALANCE TACKLING THIS SERIOUS ISSUE WITHOUT HURTING THE REPUTATION THE STATE OF VERMONT? THE "NEW YORK TIMES" PICKED UP YOUR SPEECH YESTERDAY. HERE WE ARE, LOSING YOUNG PEOPLE, THE STATE IS GETTING OLDER. NOW IT'S OUT THERE NATIONALLY, IT SEEMS AS THOUGH VERMONT HAS WHAT YOU'VE CALLED A CRISIS, AN EPIDEMIC. HOW DO YOU BALANCE THAT?

>> IT'S TOUGH AND I'LL BE CANDID, THAT'S THE RISK OF MY DOING THIS. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING THAT NO ONE ELSE WILL TALK ABOUT, BUT THEY HAVE THE PROBLEM. THEY MAY HAVE EVEN A GREATER PROBLEM THAN VERMONT. THERE'S NOT A GOVERNOR IN THE COUNTRY WHO DOESN'T HAVE THIS CHALLENGE, BUT THEY'RE AFRAID THAT THEY WILL BE TAGGED AS AN OPIATE STATE OR HEROIN STATE. LISTEN, MY VIEW IS THAT IF I WERE THE LISTENING PUBLIC, I WOULD SAY TO MYSELF, I KNOW VERMONT HAS A GREAT QUALITY OF LIFE, I KNOW THAT ALL OF AMERICA IS EMBROILED IN A DRUG CHALLENGE, A BATTLE, A WAR AGAINST DRUGS THAT WE'VE NOW BEEN LOSING FOR 30, 40 YEARS. AT LEAST VERMONT IS WILLING TO ACKNOWLEDGE IT, TALK ABOUT IT, AND DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT. I'D RATHER SPEND MY TOURIST DOLLARS THERE. I'M HOPING THAT'S WHAT THEY SAY.

>> AND THIS LAST QUESTION, QUICKLY, THERE SEEMS TO BE AN ATTITUDE SHIFT. WE USED TO HAVE THIS "NOT IN MY BACKYARD" WHEN IT COMES TO TREATMENT CENTERS. NOW WITH SEVEN REGIONAL OPIOID TREATMENT CENTERS, THAT HAS CHANGED. DO YOU THINK THAT -- YOU'RE TALKING ABOUT TOURIST DOLLARS, WILL IT HELP?

>> THERE'S NO QUESTION IT WILL HELP US. WHAT WE HAVE TO REMEMBER ABOUT TREATMENT IS ONCE YOU'RE IN TREATMENT, YOU ARE, YOU KNOW -- YOU'RE NOT A THREAT, YOU'RE NOT TRYING TO SUPPORT A $3800 A WEEK HABIT ANYMORE. YOU'RE NOT STEALING PURSES AND RIPPING FOLKS OFF. SO HAVING A TREATMENT CENTER IN YOUR BACKYARD IS REALLY NO DIFFERENT THAN HAVING A HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IN YOUR BACKYARD. THAT'S REALLY WHAT THEY ARE. WE'RE TALKING ABOUT DOCTORS, NURSES, SPECIALISTS WORKING TOGETHER WITH FOLKS WHO ACKNOWLEDGE THEY HAVE A DISEASE, THEY DESPERATELY NEED TREATMENT AND THEY'RE GOING IN TO GET IT AND THEY'RE BACK IN THE WORKFORCE. I HAVE A VERY GOOD FRIEND WHO'S, LIKE WE ALL DO PROBABLY, WHO'S BEEN GOING THROUGH THIS CHALLENGE WITH HIS SON AND HE SAID, TO OFFER HIM SUPPORT, I WENT WITH HIM THE FIRST FEW DAYS TO GET HIS TREATMENT HANDED OUT OR DISTRIBUTED. HE SAID, HERE'S A GUY THAT GREW UP IN VERMONT AND REGULAR CHITTENDEN COUNTY, SAID I HALF SAW OF THE ROOFERS, THE CONSTRUCTION FOLKS, AND THE PEOPLE THAT I WORK WITH EVERY SINGLE DAY PULLING IN THERE IN THE MORNING ON TEAR WAY TO WORK. THESE -- THEIR WAY TO WORK. THESE AREN'T FOLKS OUT MURDERING AND DOING CRIME TO FOLKS. THESE ARE FOLKS WHO ARE BUILDING OUR HOUSES, TEACHING OUR KIDS, IN OUR WORK ENVIRONMENT EVERY SINGLE DAY. NO ONE IS EXCLUDED WITH THIS DISEASE.

>> GOMP, WE HAVE TO LEAVE IT THERE. THANK YOU VERY MUCH FOR JOINING US THIS MORNING. WE LOOK FORWARD TO THE BUDGET ADDRESS.

>> THANKS FOR HAVING ME.

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