The Challenge of Opioid Addiction
Opioids – such as prescription painkillers and heroin – are powerful drugs and powerfully addictive. Opioids slow breathing and heartbeat, and act on the brain to relieve pain and increase feelings of pleasure. Addiction to opioid drugs is a serious public health problem, with potentially devastating consequences – both for people who have opioid use disorder and for our communities.
Why do we call opioid addiction a health crisis?
The use of heroin and misuse of other opioids and prescription medications is a major public health challenge in Vermont and nationwide. Nearly 92,000 persons in the U.S. died from drug-involved overdose in 2020. Substance use disorders – including opioid use disorders – have far-reaching, and all too often tragic, impacts on our families and communities, and increase pressure on our health care, child protection, and criminal justice systems.
How can we prevent opioid misuse and overdose?
- Learn how to reduce and prevent addiction and overdose of prescription opioids at RxAware.
- Learn how to prevent and reverse an opioid overdose at KnowOD.
- Learn how to properly store and dispose of unused opioid medication at Do Your Part.
How can we treat opioid use disorder?
- Learning about opioid prescribing and medication for opioid use disorder (MOUD) (formally called medication assisted treatment).
- Learn about the Vermont Prescription Monitoring System.
- Find treatment and recovery services at VT Helplink.
What is being done at a statewide level?
- Learn about statewide efforts to address and reduce the harms of opioid use disorder.
What information is available about opioid use in Vermont?
- Public Health Strategies to Reduce Opioid Use Disorders 2019-2021
- Hub and Spoke Opioid Use Disorder Treatment Quarterly Report
- Vermont Opioid-Related Fatalities
- Monthly Opioid Morbidity and Mortality Report
- Neonates Exposed to Opioids in Vermont
Public health surveys and data