Login
Skip to content

Opinon: Teamwork needed in war on drugs

  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 1118.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_field::query() should be compatible with views_handler::query($group_by = false) in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_field.inc on line 1148.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 165.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 165.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_sort::query() should be compatible with views_handler::query($group_by = false) in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_sort.inc on line 165.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::options_validate() should be compatible with views_handler::options_validate($form, &$form_state) in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 599.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_filter::query() should be compatible with views_handler::query($group_by = false) in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter.inc on line 599.
  • strict warning: Non-static method views_many_to_one_helper::option_definition() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_many_to_one.inc on line 25.
  • strict warning: Non-static method views_many_to_one_helper::option_definition() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_many_to_one.inc on line 25.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_query::options_submit() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_query.inc on line 181.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_row::options_validate() should be compatible with views_plugin::options_validate(&$form, &$form_state) in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_row.inc on line 136.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 1118.
  • strict warning: Declaration of image_attach_views_handler_field_attached_images::pre_render() should be compatible with views_handler_field::pre_render($values) in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/image/contrib/image_attach/image_attach_views_handler_field_attached_images.inc on line 112.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_area::query() should be compatible with views_handler::query($group_by = false) in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_area.inc on line 81.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_handler_area_text::options_submit() should be compatible with views_handler::options_submit($form, &$form_state) in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_area_text.inc on line 121.
  • strict warning: Non-static method view::load() should not be called statically in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/views.module on line 1118.
  • strict warning: Non-static method views_many_to_one_helper::option_definition() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_many_to_one.inc on line 25.
  • strict warning: Non-static method views_many_to_one_helper::option_definition() should not be called statically, assuming $this from incompatible context in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/handlers/views_handler_filter_many_to_one.inc on line 25.
  • strict warning: Declaration of views_plugin_style_default::options() should be compatible with views_object::options() in /home/addison/public_html/sites/all/modules/views/plugins/views_plugin_style_default.inc on line 24.

Posted on August 5, 2013 |
By Bill Schubart



This week’s writer is Bill Schubart, a Vermont entrepreneur, author and commentator on VPR. He writes about Vermont and the nation in fiction, humor and opinion pieces.

Heroin in Vermont

The danger in believing we are special is that it can blind us to what’s right under our noses. We mix and drink our Kool-Aid and then bask in our self-esteem. Vermont is a wonderful place. It is not, however, special or immune.

Our lack of transparency has led to a rash of community embezzlements. Supposedly, we all know and trust one another, until we don’t anymore.

We have the healthiest and best-educated children in the nation, until … we look deeper.

Burlington Police Chief Michael Schirling recently estimated that at any given time in northern Vermont there are 15 to 20 organized crews sometimes with roots to street “gangs” in large cities like New York, Philadelphia, Detroit and Chicago distributing up to 4,500 bags of heroin every week. Each bag costs $20. This amounts to $1.35 million a week or $70 million in annual heroin sales in northern Vermont and a growing stream of new addictions. Rutland, Bennington, other small urban areas and many small towns in Vermont are also under siege from heroin dealers and they are not included in the above figures.

If you doubt these numbers, just know that their scale is reflected both in the increase in reported property thefts and the waitlist for addicts seeking methadone treatment at the Howard Center in Burlington. Remember, too, that this is just heroin. Add in methamphetamine, alcohol and pharmaceutical opiate addictions and the picture of our children and ourselves no longer looks so special. The waitlist for alcohol treatment at Maple Leaf Farm in Underhill is over 100 and these waitlists are people who have already hit bottom and are seeking help.

Most law enforcement professionals say that the “War on Drugs” has been an expensive flop and that interdiction isn’t possible as long as a robust market exists. Drug gangs market their product just as tobacco, junk food and alcohol companies do.

There is no single solution to this problem. Solutions are more nuanced than illegalization and a “Just Say No” campaign since the causes are deeply intertwined in our changing culture and in the deteriorating economic fabric of our country.

Addressing burgeoning drug addiction will demand strategic cooperation rather than the old jurisdictional competition for money that so often dooms initiatives. Vermont has more than 60 law enforcement authorities. Additional overlap exists in social agencies, healthcare and education. It’s hard to be strategic and local at the same time.

The heroin problem will only be solved by a high-level consensus derived from law enforcement, the judiciary, the Legislature, educators, recovery and mental health professionals, social service organizations, government agencies, businesses, rights watchdogs like the ACLU, and well-informed citizens. No single sector or agency has a comprehensive solution and all will need to be heard before consensus action is taken. Education and media will be critical parts of the solution, but every sector will have their task in solving this issue. Otherwise, one day we’re special and then, all of a sudden, one day, we’re not anymore.

Addy Indy News Digest

The latest in Addison County news, every Monday and Thursday.

Connect with us

Comments