Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin on Wednesday focused his annual state of the state address exclusively on opiate abuse. Shumlin called drug addiction an “immediate health care crisis.” He said nearly 80 percent of the state’s inmates are addicted to drugs, or in prison on drug charges, and he said the state’s prison spending has doubled over the past 9 years.
“You don’t have to be a math major to realize that we can not afford our current path,” Shumlin said. “We have to figure out how to spend taxpayer money more wisely, while we treat the disease more effectively.”
Shumlin proposed over a million dollars in new spending for drug treatment centers and other prevention initiatives. Vermont faces a projected $70 million budget shortfall for the next fiscal year.