The veterinary drug xylazine has become a favored diluting agent for fentanyl. During the first five months of this year, fentanyl figured in 71 out of 77 overdose deaths, with xylazine contributing to 19.
“We’re trying to rehabilitate people — and also our community,” said Gregory Tatro, whose late sister lives on through the nonprofit Jenna’s Promise recovery network in Johnson.
The tally for January to April is lower than the 67 deaths recorded in the same period last year, but it’s 22 percent higher than that of 2020.
Becca Balint and Molly Gray answered questions from the public on how they plan to provide more resources to Vermonters affected by substance use disorder.
The eight opioid deaths recorded in Vermont in March, which all involved fentanyl, were down from 12 in February and 23 in January, according to the latest state data — but state health officials cautioned it’s far too early to talk about a trend.
While it is frustrating to postpone policy progress for another year, we are optimistic that the Legislature and the administration will be able to return to the table, hear from Vermonters, and find solutions. If the pandemic has taught us anything, public health should not be political.
The governor called the facilities an “experimental strategy” in fighting the overdose crisis. Advocates point to extensive research demonstrating that the sites save lives.
Gov. Scott opposed ending qualified immunity, and every substantive police reform bill introduced this biennium was opposed, gutted, or defeated by law enforcement leaders and defenders of the status quo.
Eight Vermonters died of accidental opioid overdoses in February, the lowest monthly toll in almost two years.
Harm reduction programs and designated agencies are expected to get more funding next year. But lawmakers sidestepped proposals for big policy shifts, such as overdose prevention sites.
This is the highest number of fatal overdoses the state has ever recorded in a single year.
Some 169 Vermonters fatally overdosed on opioids between January and October 2021, eclipsing the previous year’s record-setting total of 157 deaths.
Between January and June this year, 13 Vermonters died from opioid overdoses in which meth was also ingested. There were 10 such deaths for the whole of last year and two for 2019, state data shows.
Cardinal, McKesson, AmerisourceBergen and Johnson & Johnson are expected to pay up to $26 billion, but Vermont would get less than 1% of that total.