Vt. Hearing: Teens Offered To Sell, Carry Drugs - The Caledonian-Record - St. Johnsbury, VT
ADVERTISE          ARCHIVES          CLASSIFIEDS          CONNECT          PHOTOS          SUBMIT          SUBSCRIBE          E-EDITION
The Caledonian-Record | St. Johnsbury, VT

Football - Hawaii

home : top news : top news October 4, 2015

3/18/2014 8:40:00 AM
Vt. Hearing: Teens Offered To Sell, Carry Drugs

RUTLAND, Vt. (AP) -- Vermont's heroin and opioid abuse problems received national attention Monday at U.S. Sen. Patrick Leahy's Judiciary Committee field hearing in Rutland where witnesses discussed both reassuring signs of progress and areas in need of improvement.

Leahy began by applauding communities like Rutland for working on solutions for the drug crisis and also highlighted the unity in the state for fighting the tide of addiction.

"I've never seen in my lifetime, in this state, a law enforcement community more fully committed to prevention and treatment efforts as we have right now," Leahy said. "And I think we Vermonters ought to be proud of that."

Rutland police chief James Baker spoke about a local program called Project VISION that supporters say integrates public safety, prevention and treatment efforts.

VISION, or Viable Initiatives & Solutions through Involvement of Neighborhoods, coordinates efforts for crime, safety, substance abuse issues and neighborhoods and housing, Baker said. It uses data and connects police to city, state and county agencies so they can target certain hotspots of drug activity and better allocate resources.

But another witness, Mary Alice McKenzie, executive director of the Boys & Girls Club of Greater Burlington, said there was more to be focused on, such as the interests of children.

McKenzie said that children in her region, as young as 13 years old, have been facing drug pedaling and solicitation.

"We had children telling us they were afraid to walk home at night, afraid to walk across the park ," McKenzie said. "They told us of being followed, harassed and assaulted by those under the influence of drugs."

Young teens told her organization they were offered money to sell or carry drugs and some say they were offered money for sex with drug dealers, according to McKenzie.

In McKenzie's view, the hardest tasks were ahead, since there would need to be sustained efforts to keep a safe environment in the state.

U.S. Rep. Peter Welch, a Democrat, who also questioned witnesses at the hearing, recently worked on another pressing topic for Vermonters fighting drug crime. Welch sent a letter with the Northern New England's House delegation to the Food and Drug Administration voicing concern about its approval of Zohydro, a powerful new painkiller which is ten times more potent than Vicodin.

"It is FDA's mandate to protect the public health," the delegation wrote in the letter. "As northern New England faces one of the worst public health threats of our time, we urge you to use your authority to ensure that this highly abusable form of Zohydro does not further complicate the crisis that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention classifies as a 'growing epidemic.'"

Welch said they have not received a response from the FDA, but he will continue to pursue the issue. If the FDA does not reconsider its approval of the drug, Welch said he and others in the House would pursue legislative action.

Article Comment Submission Form
Please feel free to submit your comments.

Article comments are not posted immediately to the Web site. Each submission must be approved by the Web site editor, who may edit content for appropriateness. There may be a delay of 24-48 hours for any submission while the web site editor reviews and approves it.

Note: All information on this form is required. Your telephone number is for our use only, and will not be attached to your comment.
Submit an Article Comment
First Name:
Last Name:
Anti-SPAM Passcode Click here to see a new mix of characters.
This is an anti-SPAM device. It is not case sensitive.

Advanced Search

Subscription Login

All Around Power


© The Caledonian-Record News 2014-2015

The Caledonian-Record, 190 Federal St., P.O. Box 8, St. Johnsbury, VT 05819 - 802-748-8121

Terms and Conditions


Privacy Policy


Email Headlines


Contact Us

New & Used Cars for Sale in Vermont: www.Auto802.com
Cash in on Vermont & New Hampshire's Best Deals at Kingdom Deals MyKingdomDeals.com