America is losing the war on drugs.
Over the past four decades the U.S. has spent an estimated $1 trillion on the drug war, putting billions of dollars into law enforcement and interdiction efforts that have little or no effect on reducing the number of drug users or abusers in this country. All while addicts seeking treatment are made to wait weeks or months to get help.
Vermont is getting national attention since Gov. Peter Shumlin declared a “full-blown heroin crisis” earlier this year. It’s a familiar claim, one that has been echoed by politicians since President Nixon launched the war on drugs four decades ago. But Vermont’s governor says he has a new approach: focus more on treatment rather than law enforcement.
The recent spike in heroin use in Vermont and nationwide lends new urgency to the effort. Fatal heroin overdoses have increased 101 percentfromn 2010-2012, according to the latest nearly 50% since 2006. Between 2010-2012 101.7 percent increase in 28 states.
Demand for opiate treatment in the Green Mountain state alone has spiked nearly 800 percent since 2000.