Vermont Governor Touts Progress in Drug War

September 26, 2014

Nine months after declaring war on opiate addiction — at a time that coincides with his re-election campaign — Gov. Peter Shumlin called a news conference to report on the progress of this signature initiative.

"The progress we have made since January exceeds my wildest expectations," Shumlin said as he stood with an array of people involved in the state's broadened approach to addressing the addiction crisis.

Last January, Shumlin made opiate addiction the focus of his entire State of the State address. Tuesday he repeated the reason he chose to spotlight addiction and call for action.

"There is nothing that would destroy Vermont's quality of life more quickly than if we ignore opiate addiction," he said. He offered examples as evidence of the action that had occurred since January.

• The number of people in treatment has jumped from 1,704 to 2,519. "Do we still have some waiting lists? Yes," Shumlin acknowledged. HowardCenter, for example, has 290 on its waiting list, but that is down from nearly 1,000.

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