Opioid Misuse, Abuse & Dependence in Vermont
The percentage of Vermonters reporting prescription pain reliever misuse is going down significantly in Vermont. The decrease is particularly dramatic for Vermonters 18 to 25 years old.
While past year heroin use prevalence remains under 1% for the population 12 and older (as it does for all states), Vermonters in the 18-25 year-old age group have among the highest use rates in the country. A report from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration found that in any given year almost 80% of new heroin users in America had misused prescription pain relievers.
The general pattern for Vermont is a lot like the national trend: prescription drug misuse has slowly gone down, access to treatment for those dependent on opioids has widened, and there has been an increase in disease and death associated with heroin use.
Other Drug Use in Vermont
National data shows that Vermont has one of the highest percentages of illegal drug use in the country. The illegal drugs these data examines are:
- cocaine (including crack)
- nonmedical use of prescription-type pain relievers, tranquilizers, stimulants, and sedatives
Using illegal drugs can cause harm in a person’s life after only one use, or “experimenting”. In other cases, harm can be caused after a long period of use and high dose use. Diseases like stroke and cancer can be influenced by drug use, making it easier for Vermonters to get sick if they use drugs. The cost of managing the impact of substance use in America is estimated to cost more than $600 billion each year.
It is important to look at the reasons why more Vermonters are using illegal drugs than citizens in most other states. The Department of Health is monitoring how our efforts are making a positive difference with illegal drug use, especially among young people in Vermont.
See Data and Reports for more information on opioid and other drug misuse, abuse, and dependence in Vermont.
See How We Are Doing to learn more about goals and outcomes being tracked in Vermont.
- Vermont's Opioid Overdose Prevention & Reversal Project: Narcan/Naloxone Overdose Rescue
- See Division of Emergency Preparedness & Emergency Medical Services Statewide Incident Reporting Network for Emergency Medical Services use of Naloxone Data Briefs.
- See Division of Emergency Preparedness & Emergency Medical Services Education for Emergency Medical Services Naloxone Protocol Education.
Information from National Experts
- Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: Commonly Abused Drugs
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: Children and Teens
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: Parents and Educators
- National Institute on Drug Abuse: Parents and Families
- Partnership for Drug Free Kids - Methamphetamine
- Partnership for Drug Free Kids - Cocaine