Burlington

by Nathan Yerby ❘  

Drug And Alcohol Addiction In Burlington, Vermont

Burlington is the largest city in Vermont, with a population of about 43,000 people, and the county seat of Chittenden County. Although Vermont has a lower rate of fatal drug overdoses than other states in New England, the city of Burlington still faces challenges with the national Opioid epidemic. Since February, there has been a 76% increase in nonfatal Opioid overdoses in the city. The potential factors of the increase include the involvement of Fentanyl, a powerful synthetic Opioid, and pressures related to COVID-19 like anxiety, isolation, and fear. In addition to Opioids, the prevalence of binge drinking in Vermont is higher than the rate of binge drinking among Americans nationwide.

The county of Chittenden offers several substance abuse treatment and recovery centers including intensive outpatient, Opioid treatment hubs, and residential. If these options are not the right fit for you or a loved one, there are multiple treatment centers in the surrounding states.

The Opioid Epidemic In Burlington

In 2017, 104 people in Vermont lost their lives to drug overdoses, and 75 Vermonters died of a drug overdose in the first six months of 2018. Most fatal overdoses in Vermont involve at least one Opioid. The number of fatal overdoses on Fentanyl, which is even more potent than Heroin, has risen greatly since 2014. In 2021, Fentanyl was involved in 93% of the of the 150 Opioid-related fatalities in Vermont.

In recent years, the number of deaths in Burlington involving Heroin has also increased as drug traffickers continue to bring the carry the dangerous Opioid into the city. In 2016, the Burlington Police Department arrested a man carrying 2,500 bags of heroin. The trafficker received a long prison sentence in 2018 and admitted to bringing at least 10,000 bags of Heroin into Burlington and Vermont during the months which preceded his arrest.

Alcohol Abuse In Burlington

Burlington has higher rates of binge drinking and alcoholism than the rest of the state. Binge drinking, 5 or more drinks for women and 4 or more drinks for men consumed in 2 hours, can result in alcohol dependency and addiction. In 2018, almost 20% of adults in Vermont reported excessively drinking alcohol. According to the Vermont Department of Health, people who begin to drink alcohol as adolescents are more likely to develop addiction to alcohol as adults. In 2017, 16% of high school students in Chittenden County were binge drinking.

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Marijuana In Burlington

In Vermont, adults may legally use Marijuana for medical purpose and for recreation. No one in Vermont may use Marijuana in a public place or while driving. Although many believe that Marijuana is harmless, regular users can develop a psychological dependency on the drug. Furthermore, according to the Vermont Department of Health, frequent use of Marijuana is correlated with lower grades, lower income, and an overall worse quality of life. Nevertheless, in 2017, 34% of high school students in Burlington and Chittenden County used Marijuana frequently.

Progress In Burlington

Although the challenges of drug and alcohol abuse in Burlington are serious, the people and law enforcement of Burlington have made progress in the fight against addiction and drug trafficking. Vermont has integrated a network of doctors and recovery centers into a “hub-and-spokes model” for helping people overcome drug addiction. Vermont has the highest capacity in the United States for treating Americans who are struggling with substance abuse, and in 2015, almost 3,000 people were undergoing treatment for addiction to alcohol or drugs in Chittenden County. In Vermont, while the police continue working to confiscate illegal drugs from distributors, “Good Samaritan laws” legally protect anyone who calls the police to report an overdose. The Vermont Department of Health is also dispensing a medication which reverses the effects of overdoses called Naloxone (also known as Narcan) through a program called the Opioid Overdose Prevention and Reversal Project. The city of Burlington may even soon open a supervised injection facility to help residents who are addicted to Heroin.

Finding Help In Burlington

If you or a loved one is struggling with an addiction, there are treatment options available. For more information, contact a treatment provider today.

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Author

Nathan Yerby

Photo of Nathan Yerby
  • Nathan Yerby is a writer and researcher. He is a graduate of the University of Central Florida.

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