Skip to comments.‘Full-Blown Heroin Crisis’: Vermont Governor Says Drug Surge Deadlier Than Cars or Guns
Posted on 01/10/2014 8:28:53 AM PST by SeekAndFind
Vermont’s governor dedicated his entire state of the state address this week to the scourge of drug addiction, stressing that the uptick in heroin use is more deadly that guns or “all of the other things that we keep talking about.”
“What started as an OxyContin and prescription drug addiction problem in this state has now grown into a full-blown heroin crisis,” Peter Shumlin said of the 770 percent increase in opiate treatment in his home state since 2000.
The White House’s Office of National Drug Control Policy has also reported the number of deaths involving heroin jumped 45 percent between 1999 and 2010.
“I mean, obviously, it’s no more serious than the other states around us. I think, I hope that the difference is that I’m willing to confront it and, as governor, take it on head on. And, listen, here’s the challenge. We have lost the war on drugs. The notion that we can arrest our way out of this problem is yesterday’s theory,” Shumlin told PBS.
“This is one of the real battles that we’re facing that we have got to win. And we have got to do that by changing the discussion and changing the policy, so that we say that what heroin addicts and folks that are addicted to opiates are facing is a public health issue, not a crime issue. And we have got to be willing to fight it from that vantage point.”
Shumlin said he feels especially strong about the issue because so few leaders seem to want to talk about it.
“Governors don’t like talking about it because we’re afraid that when we move our policy from law enforcement, and the belief and the fantasy that you can beat this just with law enforcement, and, in fact, have to treat it with treatment and with services that will help folks move from addiction to recovery, that something will go wrong, and that therefore we don’t dare take any risk,” he said.
“So I say the risk for Vermont, frankly, the risk for the other states around the country is, we have got more people dying from opiate addiction and from drug addiction than is killing us in automobiles, killing us with guns, killing us with all of the other things that we keep talking about,” Shumlin continued. “So let’s start facing this as the health crisis that it is and change our policies, so that we can start actually making progress and moving people from addiction to recovery.”
When asked if there’s a profile of the person who’s using, the governor replied, “Everybody.”
“We tend to live under the fantasy that we’re talking about folks who are only growing up in poverty and have no opportunity and no hope. Now, listen, that’s a problem. It definitely afflicts folks who have no opportunity and no hope,” Shumlin said. “But it also afflicts people who have huge opportunity and who are wealthy. So it crosses all economic lines.”
In bigger cities, heroin can be bought for $6 or $7 a bag, he noted. In Vermont, it sells for $20 or $30 a bag.
“So you can do the math. A short drive up the interstate, and you are going to see a huge profit. So the challenge we’re facing is that, as this did begin as an OxyContin and prescription drug crisis, now heroin is cheaper than OxyContin on the streets, and it’s frankly more available,” he said. “So that’s the challenge that I’m facing as a governor. Now, the question is, how do you deal with it? And the answer for me is, I have got people who are ready for treatment. The biggest challenge with opiate addicts, an opiate addict, a drug addict, they’re the best liars and the best deniers you’re ever going to meet.”
“But there is a window of opportunity, all the research suggests, where you can convince them that treatment is the best option. And it tends to be when they’re busted, when the blue lights are flashing and when you have an opportunity. Now, the problem with my judicial system and probably every one in the country is that there is a huge gap between that moment of opportunity to talk them into treatment and the court process that it takes weeks or months to wind your way through,” Shumlin added.
“So I’m changing the judicial process that I give my prosecutors and my judges a third-party independent assessment to go right in, right upon the bust and figure out, you know, who we should be mad at, disappointed in, and who we should be afraid of.”
Hmm. Cars or guns? In that particular order?
The governor is smoking crack.
Free ObamaHeroin available now
Good Grief, now we have a full blown Drug Vortex.
Good. I'd rather have the stupid a$$es that do heroin die, than having government spend taxpayer dollars for repeated unsuccessful treatments (not to mention the damage done to society directly from theft by the addicts, neighborhood degredation, etc.)
Did he go after the real drug pushers? The doctors and the pharma sales reps?
When Vermont starts puting doctors in jail for giving addictive drugs to unsuspecting people, I’ll pat them on the back.
Why do you say that?
It’s not a legal problem, but he wants to bust them so he can have like a rap session with them? Prescription drugs make people use heroin? High blood pressure junkies. He’s a little upset that New York drug dealers are undercutting the profit margin for Vermont drug dealers? Wow.
It’s all a LIE, and must be made up entirely just to scare us. Afghanistan Produces 95% of the WORLD’S OPIUM, Our US Military CONTROLS the Afghanistan Border. It cannot be happening, How could there be such a DRAMATIC INCREASE in Heroin Usage Since we took over in Afghanistan, in Every City USA, if The Government is Officially In Charge of the very borders the product Originates from????
Ever wonder why the US/Mexico Border will never be SEALED???
The way I read it, The governor is saying the focus shouldn't be on guns or cars as killers but on drugs.
Personally, I don't care if the rich are doing heroin. This doesn't affect me. It's the "poor" who use that affects me. They are on welfare. My tax money supports them. They use my money to feed their addiction.
Meanwhile, in Delaware County, the police is trying to get the pushers. Problem is, it takes six months to get the paperwork in order. Just last week they finally got one top supplier.
The free man owns himself. He can damage himself with either eating or drinking; he can ruin himself with gambling. If he does he is certainly a damn fool, and he might possibly be a damned soul; but if he may not, he is not a free man any more than a dog. G. K. Chesterton, Broadcast talk 6-11-35
Guess you’re not a Limbaugh fan then.
“Prescription drugs make people use heroin?”
Yes, indeed. Most prescription painkillers are opiates and once you are addicted to opiates, you are addicted to ALL opiates, including heroin. Junkies don’t discriminate when they need a fix.
Immoral people get the government they deserve.
Brief translation: “Solve the drug problem by legalizing heroin and all the rest of them. Then softly persuade those druggies not to use drugs.
It sounds like another incompetent liberal who along with other liberal failures is incapable of enforcing the law and arresting drug dealers. Rather than admit his own failure he announces that there is a huge “problem” that needs massive new government programs and substantial increases in taxpayer dollars. And guess who’s power will be enhanced by all these new government jobs and government funding? The governor and his administration.
This tactic has been repeated many times by liberals.
There is too much money involved with THE ESCAPE INDUSTRY that is recreational drugs in this country. Even the legal stuff. I was talking to my sister and she had been watching a news story about the legalized pot in Colorado. She said that the people in line to go into the pot store, “Looked like the stoners from high school only older.” They do. The only way, the ONLY way, to reduce recreational drug use in this country is to toughen up the recreational drug users. If you need to use recreational drugs to escape from reality, then you are screwed up. You have done nothing but make your reality worse. You escaped it for awhile, but it cost you money you could have used to actually improve your reality. I don’t hate recreational drug users. They are pathetic cowards. I do hate the dealers. They prey on these pathetic cowards. That’s chickenshit. Find a way to make money that doesn’t hurt the country. Because recreational drug use hurts our country. It produces a steady stream of frightened, pathetic people. Do people like that vote conservative? Nope. They vote for government to take care of them, and that’s the Democrat party. I’m amazed at the number of people who say “this country started going to hell in the 60s!” but don’t see how recreational drug use is involved with that. Recreational drug use took off in the 60s. And if you are a “Libertarian” and you just don’t care, then shut your yap about Obama and the Democrats and suffer the effects of THE ESCAPE INDUSTRY.
Exactly. And in most areas, heroin is cheaper than bootleg painkillers.
“It sounds like another incompetent liberal who along with other liberal failures is incapable of enforcing the law and arresting drug dealers.”
You arrest all the drug dealers, and then what? Tomorrow there is a whole new crop of dealers, because you’ve done nothing to eliminate the profit motive.
No, indeed. Do all prescription pain reducer users become heroin addicts? Not even close. It’s a false premise used to try and make recreational drug use appear to be something that more citizens are involved in, and that’s just not true. We have to start being truthful about recreational drug use. People are medicating themselves. Why? They can’t face their reality. OK. They need to face reality. The thing about reality is that it’s always there. Recreational drug users can escape it for a few minutes, but hitting yourself in the head with a hammer will make you forget about everything else, too. And using recreational drugs hurts the whole country. The OPPORTUNITY COSTS associated with recreational drug use is astounding. Could we reduce welfare with the money spent on recreational drugs? Yes. The biggest cost,though, is to our national character. We sit here at Free Republic and wonder why people vote for Democrats. A big part of that is people who are afraid to face reality. The Democrats don’t really care if recreational drugs are legal or not, just so long as people remain afraid of reality. You want a better America? Have better citizens. You want better citizens? Have strong people who can face reality and who will WORK to change reality instead of using recreational drugs to HIDE from reality.
“Do all prescription pain reducer users become heroin addicts?”
If they get addicted to opiate pain killers, then yes. Even one has never done heroin, if you become addicted to opiates, you are then addicted to any and all opiates you can get your hands on.
I don’t pretend to have solutions to these complex problems. But how many of you have tried living in a neighborhood where large numbers of people were on heroin and/or other hard drugs? If not, there are some vacancies in my building you can try. Add to it the fact that Everett evidently hasn’t recovered from the housing bubble crisis and some other social ills. Now we are readying for legal marijuana. Maybe it will solve some of our problems. Maybe it will create others. Maybe it won’t matter. Who knows?
If you think other people’s addictions don’t affect you as long as the people aren’t on welfare, you should rethink that. We are in this together. Even if there is no economic or physical effect on me, I will always care what happens to our culture. Unlike Vito Corleone in the Godfather, I believe the addicts have souls. That’s one of the reasons I’m on this forum. People here seem to share my concerns about the culture.
Hear! Hear! Well said.
You avoided my question. Why?
Good post. Thank you.
If you arrest them you dramatically change the risk reward ratio. The fact is no one can deal drugs profitably unless they have political corruption and people look the other way.
Dealing drugs is very risky. You are not dealing with solid citizens. Many drug dealers end up getting ripped off or worse. Some end up dead. Throw in a high probability of arrest and a long prison sentence and it is not worth the risk.
You should also arrest drug users. They are vulnerable and will identify other dealers and users.
Most of America is HIGH on something...
To Wit; the election of Barry Half-White................ TWICE..
The country is pretty much doped up...... dopey... dopestirs... Dopes..
The quality of people in Congress and the White Hut..... PROVE IT..
UNLESS........ massive voter fraud is the source of it..
But .... What IF it’s BOTH?..
I guess he didn’t want to talk about ObamaCare and a bunch of other things. Spending a whole state of the state address on one topic sounds like he is avoiding stuff
An ex girlfriend’s brother became addicted to Oxycontin after a doc prescribed it to him for a while then cut him off.
His life went into the toilet after he started smoking crack when he could no longer get Heroin.
One night he smoked up at the crack house and didn’t have the cash to pay up; the dealer and his enforcers broke both his legs.
I was prescribed painkillers for a back injury many years ago, and before it healed I experienced all the signs of physical addiction - increasing tolerance and withdrawl symptoms when I stopped taking it. I currently have a presciption for generic Vicodin for occasional flare-ups of IBS. I keep a couple in my desk drawer at work, and the rest are in the medicine cabinet at home. There's maybe 10 gone from a refill of 60 I got around the first of November.
Opiate abuse is opiate abuse. It is wrong to say that if one is addicted to Percocet then that makes them a heroin addict.
I have a heroin addict(20 years) in the family. He told me Heroin is the end of the line. Once you do it NOTHING else really matters. It is all they seek. Give a Heroin addict 50 Percocets and he will sell them for Heroin every single time. Opiate EFFECTS(Euphoria etc.)are similar. That is true. That doesn’t mean that they are the same and will be used interchangebly.
And what before all this was the gateway drug for many?
Great idea to legalize that as well.
You must work with trustworthy people. I wouldn’t keep anything like that at work, unless its locked. But congratulations on using the painkillers responsibly. I’m the same way. When I get them for a tooth extraction or something, I tell them to give me just a few. If they want to give me a dozen, I tell them just 6 or 8.
Somebody earlier mentioned Rush Limbaugh. His story is pretty typical—it starts out with something like a back injury or surgery. For me it was a wake up call—if it can happen to him it can happen to anybody. It made me more vigilant.
Sounds like we're using the wrong one.
I work for a financial institution. Everyone is required to lock their desk every night before they go home.
I’m getting more inclined to what to keep a supply on hand. Pretty soon it may get to be a 3 week wait to see a dentist. You just have to understand that when it starts taking more get the same relief, you’re building up a tolerance and it’s time to do something else.
“It is wrong to say that if one is addicted to Percocet then that makes them a heroin addict.”
If one is addicted to opiates, you’re addicted to opiates. They all trigger the same receptors in the brain. This idea that you can be only addicted to some lesser kind of opiate is like saying an alcoholic can only be addicted to beer.
Many people who use (and abuse) heroin and alcohol are damaged people from various forms of abuse and neglect that they’re not even aware of. Most of them aren’t aware because of their notions of “normal”. You want to throw them away.
The numbers who recover and stay clean are small, BUT those who do positively influence an average of six other addicts or alcoholics in ways that even good professionals can’t do.
“Throw in a high probability of arrest and a long prison sentence and it is not worth the risk.”
The higher the risk, the higher the price they can demand for their product, until it is enough to justify taking the risk. You will never eliminate such a profitable industry as long as it can stay profitable.
You’re welcome. It saddens me to see so many of our fellow citizens who feel the need to escape reality. The drug dealers are cruel to aid this behavior. The Democrats are cruel to aid this behavior. The drug dealers and the Democrats, by profiting from human misery, have, in my belief, turned their back on God. This is, in my understanding, the one unpardonable sin. So, while they may claim to be Christians, they have arrogantly turned their face from God and their actions betray them.
It is time to quit ignoring those in pain and to start to heal them with The Word.
I understand. I worked at 2 veterinary hospitals. Though most of my coworkers were fine people, I’m sorry to say that there were a couple of issues with the controlled substance safe, resulting in immediate terminations. The second place had a very fancy, high tech electronic safe that was also in plain view of everybody.
We’ve got a diabetic cat. I wish the insulin we buy from the vet was as cheap as the Vicodin I get from the pharmacy.
I’ve heard that Vermont has a large population percentage of trust-funders, people who’ve inheirited wealth that they never worked for, and whose only job each month is going to the mailbox to pick up their dividend checks. They are Green Mountain Green-Scene libs driving Subarus and Prius while voting for Howard Dean and Bernie Sanders. Hard to blame them for wanting to stay stoned all the time in that environment, even if it is of their own making.
I think that catologues like Foster and Smith have pet meds. Things like insulin that arent controlled, I mean.Veterinarians discourage this for obvious reasons. They used to make a big deal of getting Advantage. I would avoid online sellers that might be unsafe Chinese counterfeits or something. Then shipping might offset the savings. Talk to somebody involved in pet rescue. They know a lot of secrets to saving money on things like this.
I haven’t belonged to Costco for many years but they might have stuff like this.
Thanks! I might look into that. He’s a pretty old cat. We might not need to buy it many more times :(
Actually, I am. If he had died as a result of drugs, so be it.