Vermont’s Relapse: Efforts to address opioids were starting to work. Then new street drugs arrived.

Published: Jun. 14, 2023 at 6:07 PM EDT
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BURLINGTON, Vt. (WCAX) - It has been nearly a decade since then-governor Peter Shumlin dedicated his entire State of the State address to what he described then as Vermont’s “full-blown heroin crisis.”

That led to the build-out of what has become a renowned “hub-and-spoke” drug treatment system; just a few years ago, it appeared the state was making tangible progress.

But today, the scourge of drugs is worse. More people died from fatal opioid overdoses between 2020 and 2022 — 614 — than in the previous six years combined.

Darren Perron spoke with Seven Days’ Colin Flanders, who wrote about the deepening crisis in this week’s issue.