Are we being needlessly scared by the so called heroin epidemic in Vermont? Consider the following statistics.
According to the World Health Organization: 5 million people around the world die from tobacco-related causes each year. In 2013, 450,000 of those were in the United States. Nine hundred of those were in Vermont.
Two and a half million people die from alcohol-related causes each year. It’s estimated 75,000-100,000 of those were in the United States. In 2013, 183 of those were in Vermont.
Two hundred thousand people die from illegal drugs each year. Ten thousand to twenty thousand of those are in the United States. In 2013 less than a 100 of those deaths were in Vermont; 21 of those were due to heroin.
Where is this heroin epidemic that Governor Shumlin speaks of? Compared to the number of people dying from legal drugs, heroin cannot even be seen in the rearview mirror. Smells like there is a lot of politics at play here.
There is a lot of talk about treatment centers also. Treatment centers are great for stabilizing drug addicts and alcoholics, but in the long run they have swinging doors and those that use those doors have a poor record of staying clean and sober for any length of time.
Many of those who died from tobacco were more likely to use alcohol and drugs, too. The reason for this is people who abuse one drug are unlikely to worry about what another drug might do to their health and people who make bad decisions in regards to one drug have a much higher risk of abusing other drugs also.
The above mentioned statistics show that deaths from drug abuse are modest compared to other drugs used by Vermonters, and alcohol has a much more detrimental effect on Vermonters than any other drug we have seen. The reason is it’s legal, readily available, accepted by society and easily abused.
Before we allow ourselves to swallow this new heroin epidemic, let’s take a look at the drugs that steal the most from Vermont families, alcohol and tobacco.
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