On June 5, Gov. Peter Shumlin signed into law a comprehensive
package of legislation designed to crack down on drug addiction and
the crimes linked to abuse of prescription and other drugs,
including methamphetamines. In addition, another new law provides
limited immunity from liability for people who report an overdose
to help reduce the number of drug- and alcohol-related deaths in
"The Vermont Legislature moved quickly to pass bills taking aim
at the abuse of drugs that are addicting Vermonters, ruining lives,
and sparking crime that harms communities," the Governor said.
"This new law is a significant move forward in our fight against
substance abuse and I thank the Legislature for their hard work and
initiative on this issue."
Joined by legislative leaders and others who worked to ensure
passage of the legislation, Gov. Shumlin signed the measure into
law at a Behavioral Health Network of Vermont Conference that was
focused, in large part, on addiction issues.
Among the provisions, the new law implements standards for
doctors to consult the Vermont Prescription Monitoring System to
ensure patients are not doctor-shopping for their drugs. It also
creates a pilot program for wider distribution of a drug that
reverses opioid overdoses. In addition, the law creates a proposal
for a statewide disposal program for unused prescription
medications so they don't fall into the wrong hands.
The law also:
• Implements participation in a national database
to track the sales of non-prescription, over-the-counter chemicals
used in the manufacture of methamphetamines (this real-time
monitoring can prevent the excessive sales of those chemicals to a
• Establishes an unused drug disposal protocol;
• Creates an outreach program by the Department
of Public Safety to educate pawn shop owners and precious metal
dealers about laws dealing with the purchase and sale of precious
metals that might have been stolen in drug-related robberies.
In a related move, Gov. Shumlin also signed legislation providing
limited immunity from liability for people who report an overdose,
legislation informally known as the Good Samaritan Bill. In 2011,
there were over 120 drug overdose deaths in Vermont attributed to
drugs or alcohol. Advocates argue that some overdoses are not
reported by others because of concerns they might be held liable
for the drug sale or use.
Gov. Shumlin said it's important that these overdoses are
reported as quickly as possible because victims might be saved by a
prompt medical response.
"We cannot break our focus on this critical issue, because drug
addiction harms not just the individuals ensnared in it but also
our families and communities," Gov. Shumlin said. "I pledge to
continue to work with mayors, law enforcement, medical and mental
health experts and legislators to fight this problem, and will be
focusing between now and January on the next steps in this