Evolution of an Epidemic: A Timeline of the Vermont Opioid Crisis | Opioid Crisis | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Evolution of an Epidemic: A Timeline of the Vermont Opioid Crisis 

click to enlarge Howard Dean, Tom Dalton, Peter Shumlin - JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR / JAMES BUCK / JEB WALLACE-BRODEUR
  • Jeb Wallace-Brodeur / James Buck / Jeb Wallace-Brodeur
  • Howard Dean, Tom Dalton, Peter Shumlin
Hundreds of Vermonters have died from opioid overdoses in the past quarter century. More than 8,000 are currently in treatment for opioid-use disorder. Countless others live every day with the despair of this disease. How did we get here? No single event sparked Vermont’s current emergency, but its momentum was building for more than a decade before then-governor Peter Shumlin named it a “full-blown heroin crisis” in his 2014 State of the State address. From the invention of OxyContin to a single night in January 2019 when the University of Vermont Medical Center treated seven overdose patients, our timeline tracks the epidemic in Vermont.

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Did we miss anything? We’ll update this timeline as the epidemic continues. Contact us at hooked@sevendaysvt.com.

Need Help?

If you or someone you love are suffering from opioid use disorder and need treatment and support resources, here's how to get connected:


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"Hooked: Stories and Solutions From Vermont's Opioid Epidemic" is made possible in part by funding from the Vermont Community Foundation, the University of Vermont Health Network and Pomerleau Real Estate. The series is reported and edited by Seven Days news staff; underwriters have no influence on the content.


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About The Author

Kate O'Neill

Kate O'Neill

Bio:
In “Hooked: Stories and Solutions from Vermont’s Opioid Crisis,” writer Kate O’Neill explores the state’s opioid epidemic and efforts to address it using traditional journalism, narrative storytelling and her own experiences. Her sister, Madelyn Linsenmeir, died in October 2018 after years battling opioid addiction... more

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Latest in Category

  • Hooked: A Love Story From Vermont's Opioid Crisis
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    Writer Kate O'Neill reflects on what she's learned since her sister Madelyn Linsenmeir's death in October 2018. "Since my sister died," she writes in the final installment of her yearlong series, "I've been asked over and over what people can do to help others with opioid-use disorder. A year ago I didn't have an answer. Now I have many."
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    What’s best for the children of Vermonters with opioid-use disorder? In the Green Mountain State, heart-wrenching decisions about custody and parental rights often fall to the Department of Children and Families. In 2016 its lawyers terminated the rights of parents to their babies and toddlers at a higher rate than any other state in the nation — except Oklahoma. In the fifth episode of the “Hooked” series, Kate O’Neill explains how the overburdened, under- resourced system works. She also reveals many of the ways it doesn’t, by inadvertently punishing parents, especially for poor ones, who are trying to keep or regain custody of their kids.
    • Nov 6, 2019
  • How Far Along? How Vermont Delivers Help for Pregnant Women With Opioid-Use Disorder
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    Stigma is the biggest barrier between pregnant women with opioid-use disorder and prenatal care. The No. 1 fear of those moms-to-be in Vermont? That the Department of Children and Families might take their babies.

    In this installment of Hooked, her yearlong series exploring Vermont’s opioid epidemic, staff writer Kate O’Neill navigates the programs and processes for women giving birth while addicted. Vermont has five times more opioid-exposed newborns than the national average, but that may because of improved access to treatment in the state.

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