In the final part of our dialogue with Megan, we look at policies under consideration by Vermont legislators — such as safe injection sites and decriminalizing buprenorphine — and discuss whether such measures help or hurt opioid addiction.
This week we continue our dialogue with Megan West, a recovering opioid addict from Sheldon, and learn about the federal crime she committed, and how time in prison put her on the path to recovery and redemption.
Megan West, a 32-year old Sheldon native, became addicted to oxycodone at age 15. Since then, prescription opioids, heroin and crack cocaine have consumed her life.
A Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center review of Vermont’s highly regarded “hub-and-spoke” model for treating opioid addiction concludes that the system is working very well.
The CDC’s 2017 data shows that 70,237 Americans died of drug overdoses. That represents a nearly 10 percent increase from 2016, when 63,632 Americans died of drug overdoses. West Virginia, Ohio and Pennsylvania were the states hardest hit.
“Together, we will defeat this epidemic — it’s a true epidemic — as one people, one family, and one magnificent nation under God,” he said.
Over the past four years states particularly swamped with opioid addiction have seen increases as large as 40 percent in their foster care populations.
The study, published Friday in the journal JAMA Network Open, reveals that young Americans are dying at a far greater pace than any other group.
Marchand says there’s no silver bullet for cutting down on opioid addiction and death rates in Vermont. “Such a state tax would only harm patients who need the drugs without reducing addiction,” he said.
Vermont’s recent $28 million windfall from years of wrangling with the tobacco industry offers insights into the role of government regulation in society.
President Donald Trump will continue his call to crack down on drug traffickers with the “ultimate penalty” as he discusses his strategy for combating the opioid crisis Monday.