Scott signs legislation to consolidate addiction prevention efforts

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HYDE PARK, Vt. – Gov. Phil Scott signed a bill Tuesday aimed at uniting partners in the fight against opioid addiction.

The legislation creates a substance misuse prevention advisory council and establishes a director of substance misuse prevention.

“The bill I’m signing tonight represents the next step in our efforts by consolidating the different prevention initiatives across State government to use the scarce dollars we have more effectively,” Scott said at Lamoille County’s Fourth Annual Opioid Forum.

Lamoille County Sheriff Roger Marcoux said attendance at this year’s forum was the highest since it began — a reminder of the persistent threat of opioid addiction in Vermont.

“It’s not going away,” Marcoux said. “We don’t have the same level of resources in the rural counties as we do in the metropolitan areas so we need to keep this in the news. People need to understand that we’re still facing the same crisis that we were four years ago.”

“The bottom line is this bill will improve our long term goal of ending the substance misuse that has wreaked havoc across our state.”

Gov. Phil Scott

The parents of Jenna Rae Tatro, a Vermont woman who died from an opioid overdose in February, spoke about their daughter’s struggle with addiction. They now lead a foundation aimed at lessening the burden of addiction.

“Addiction is a disease, and it can be treated,” said Dawn Tatro. “It has nothing to do with failure, sin, weakness, or being less than a full person. It is a time for treatment, not judgment.”

Scott said the legislation will contribute to Vermont’s status as a national leader in the fight against drug addiction.

“The bottom line is this bill will improve our long term goal of ending the substance misuse that has wreaked havoc across our state,” he said.

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