Leahy to hold U.S. Senate field hearing on opiate addiction March 17

Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt., chair of the Senate Judiciary Committee is holding a field hearing on opiate addiction in Rutland on March 17.

The hearing, “Community Solutions To Breaking The Cycle Of Heroin And Opioid Addiction,” will feature testimony from law enforcement and public health officials.

Leahy has held three previous committee hearings on drug abuse in Barre, St. Albans and Rutland.

The public event on the 17th is designed to support Gov. Peter Shumlin’s efforts to curb opiate abuse.

“This is a continuing process of examining facts, distilling solutions, and then continually adapting and refining them,” Leahy said in a statement. “Heroin addiction ravages individual lives, families and communities, and it generates crime. It kindles localized destruction, but its roots and effects also extend beyond our borders. It is a local problem with regional echoes and national implications. In Vermont we are proactive. We call all hands to the deck. We need to keep evaluating to identify what works and what does not. Other communities and other states can learn from us, and we can learn from their experiences.”

The witnesses for the hearing will be: Tristram Coffin, U.S. Attorney for the District of Vermont; Chief James Baker of the Rutland City Police Department; Dr. Harry Chen, commissioner of the Vermont Department of Public Health; Mary Alice McKenzie, executive director of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Greater Burlington; and Col. Tom L’Esperance, director of the Vermont State Police.

The hearing will be held at 1 p.m. March 17 in the Franklin Conference Center at the Howe Center, 1 Scale Ave., Rutland.

Vermonters are invited to submit written statements (up to 10 pages) via email by March 21.  The email address is: [email protected]

Anne Galloway

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  • Heroin is a terrible drug, and one not being served properly by the current community systems in place

  • Frank Chance

    Doctors offices are the gateway to many, many addicts. Not the ‘doctor shopping’ frauds but their pain management patients. The doctors will prescribe opiates but when the time comes to ween off these habit forming drugs the doctors frequently kick the patient to the curb, maybe suggesting they enroll in a 12 step program or the like. What can be done with this population of addicts? Oh, I can hear all the physicians saying, ‘not us, we don’t do that’. But many do. It’s not right.

  • All of this nationwide publicity is surely killing the Vermont Brand, it certainly will do nothing to encourage consumers to purchase our products AND most assuredly it will not inspire them to come and vacation with us.

    Surely we need to address this scourge in our Green Mountains – I am certain the problem could be addressed without announcing it to the whole world!

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