Opioid epidemic declared a public health emergency

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President Donald Trump declared America’s opioid epidemic a “public health emergency” Thursday.

It’s a move that opens up grants to help federal agencies…Help addicts.

Vermont Governor Phil Scott applauded the move saying when state and federal government work together, we are closer to solving this crisis. “I think this is good news because we have long been working on this issue and anytime we can get some assistance some resources work together pull in the same directions.”

Under the declaration…Agencies like the Vermont Department of Labor will have access to dislocated grant money for workers off the job and in treatment.

 “Vermont has been working with this population already,” says David Lahr the Director of Work Force Development. He explains that Vermont will be able to expand on a program already in place.

“I think that we lose a tremendous resource by not pursuing treatment of these individuals. Our employers need a workforce. For those individuals that we can reach and we can provide wrap around services to resolve there substance abuse issue…Creates just a better place for them to be a better place for employers,” says Lahr.

“Have we turned the corner yet? I can’t say that we have,” Says Public safety Commissioner Thomas Anderson who believes it comes down to prevention.”

“Because in the long run, that is going to reduce our need for treatment and our need for recovery.  So it’s really about prevention and to me that’s in the area of prescribing practices in the area of education and in the area of community sponsored prevention methods.”

So while the Thursday’s declaration doesn’t provide money to directly fight the crisis…It does make help available to those on the front lines working to end this epidemic.

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