Vermont ranks first in the nation for illicit drug use. It ranks highest for nearly every type of drug, from marijuana to cocaine. The reason for its top ranking may be related to a few different things. The cold weather is cited often due to residents being relegated to their homes for a good portion of the year and boredom seeps in. Vermont is also fairly close in proximity to big cities like Boston and New York City. The liberal political landscape of Vermont may also play a role.
Barbara Cimaglio, the Vermont Department of Health’s deputy commissioner for alcohol and drug abuse cites marijuana use to be behind the high ranking of the state. 13 percent of Vermont’s residents reported using marijuana in the past month.
Drug trafficking from other states is a problem in Vermont. Many of the state's highways feed into larger cities in the Northeast. Drugs like heroin can be sold at a higher rate in Vermont with drug dealers passing through and selling off some of their supply to residents.
Vermont is taking its opioid problem seriously. The governor of Vermont in 2014, Peter Shumlin, used his state of the state address to talk about Vermont’s problem with drug abuse. He said, “The time has come for us to stop quietly averting our eyes from the growing heroin addiction in our front yards while we fear and fight treatment
facilities in our backyards.”
In 2013, the state legislature voted to begin a pilot program for distributing emergency overdose rescue kits containing Narcan to those who were most at risk of overdose. These kits have saved countless lives by being available to family members of those suffering from addiction.
How bad is the addiction problem in Vermont? Take a look at these sobering statistics.