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Naloxone, test strips among changes proposed in opioid bills

February 18, 2021 GMT

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) — Advocates and some lawmakers in Vermont want to create safe drug consumption sites, make the opioid-overdose antidote naloxone more available and provide fentanyl testing strips to decrease the number of opioid-related deaths in the state.

Several bills in the state legislature seek to provide incentives for treatment and steps to prevent people struggling with addiction from dying, WCAX-TV reported on Wednesday.

Vermont Attorney General T.J. Donovan told the broadcaster he supports most of the bills, but does not condone legalizing several hallucinogenic drugs as one of the bills proposes to do.

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“I understand the criminal justice system needs to be smaller, more flexible when it addresses this issue and how it interacts with our public health system, because a jail cell does not solve addiction,” Donovan said.

The number of opioid-related deaths in Vermont rose in 2020 from 2019, with 134 fatalities up from 99, the broadcaster reported. A survey of data available from different states in 2020 by The Associated Press suggests that U.S. drug overdose deaths are on track to reach an all-time high in part because of the pandemic.