RICHMOND, VT. – The state of Vermont is in line to double the amount of federal money it will have this year to combat opioid addiction.
Democratic U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy said Monday he is working to secure a minimum of $4 million this year for the Vermont Health Department, which doubles last year’s federal allocation.
Leahy, the vice chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, said the money that would be delivered to Vermont is part of a bipartisan, two-year deal to commit $6 billion to fight opioid abuse across the country.
Leahy highlighted the plan during a Monday appearance in Richmond, which has been affected by the opioid epidemic as have many Vermont communities. The money for Vermont is part of the national State Opioid Response Grant program.
“This will strengthen our responses across many fronts – including prevention, treatment, enforcement, and support for those in recovery,” Leahy said in remarks prepared before the event.
Like many states, Vermont officials have been working for years to confront the opioid abuse epidemic of both misused prescription drugs and heroin and synthetic drugs such as fentanyl that has been sweeping the state and the nation.
Vermont has used a number of tools to fight opioid abuse, including making it easier for people to become substance abuse counselors or have access to the overdose-countering drug Narcan. The state’s “hub and spoke” treatment system works to ensure that people in all corners of the state have access to medical care.