Hearing held to break Heroin & Opioid Addiction

By Christine Souders | csouders@nexstar.tv

Published 03/17 2014 09:05PM

Updated 03/17 2014 09:18PM

RUTLAND, VT- Vermont's battle against heroin and opioid addiction has thrown the state in the national spotlight.

Monday it was all about finding a solution.

In a standing room only hearing held by the Senate Judiciary Committee in Rutland, the focus was on creating community solutions to break the cycle of addiction.

But how?

"You can't ask law enforcement to do it all, it's more than just law enforcement. It's rehabilitation, it's prevention, education, as boy's and girls club shown. Give kids an alternative," said Senator Patrick Leahy.

Alternatives, Skip Gates said he wishes his 21-year-old son had before overdosing on heroin.

"The addict is doing something he is compelled to do, and i think we ought to offer them rehabilitation, as opposed to jail, and start treating this as a disease, the epedmic this really is."

The selected panel agreed with both Senator Leahy and Gates about a need to make this a collective effort in order to combat a problem that so often steals lives.

"To me one of the starkest statistics is the increase in heroin overdose we have here in vermont. Last year's total a record, 21, was more than twice the number the year before which was also a record," said Tristram Coffin, U.S. Attorney for District of Vermont.

Project Vision Chair Joe Kraus said it's all hands on deck to keep the drug traffickers out of Rutland, and surrounding communities.

"Our goal is to build really strong neighborhoods, so when those people come and try to set up shop, they soon realize, they are not welcomed, that we are strong, and this is not a place that they will be sucessful and should go elswhere."

Local leaders are asking for suggestions from the community as well.

Here's the email address: Opioid_Hearing@judiciary-dem.senate.gov

Copyright 2016 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.