Montpelier, VT – Governor Phil Scott has signed a bill aimed at reducing the rising number of opioid overdoses.

The ‘Overdose Prevention Act’ expands access to the overdose reversal drug naloxone, decriminalizes buprenorphine, a treatment for opioid withdrawals, and makes telehealth treatment options easier to access. The bill also makes it easier for users to properly get rid of used needles. 

Funds for these projects are secured through a lawsuit that held pharma companies responsible for supplying addictive opioids. Scott says the state expects to receive money from the settlement for the next 18 years. 

In a statement, Vermont Health Commissioner Dr. Mark Levine said quote: “The act provides us with vital tools we will use to meet our most critical objectives  to save lives and provide people with the treatment they need to succeed in their recovery.”

According to the state, there had been 42 opioid-related deaths since the end of February. Looking at data in the past three years, there have been an average of 28 opioid-related deaths by that time of the year.