State Senate panel hears from trenches on substance abuse

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Vermont has expanded addiction treatment in a big way in recent years, but lawmakers are still hearing of waiting lists for treatment and huge caseloads for substance abuse counselors.

The Senate Health and Welfare Committee got an update from senior human services officials about progress in addressing the state’s opiate abuse crisis, but also heard that there is much work to do.

Gov. Peter Shumlin noted in his State of the State Address last week that the numbers of Vermonters getting opiate addiction treatment is up 65 percent in the past two years.

Figures provided the state Health Department show the number of people seeking treatment for heroin addiction roughly doubled between 2012 and 2015.

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