I do believe that Vermont is facing a severe epidemic when it comes to opiate addiction. According to Governor Peter Shumlin, “We 're spending roughly $134 million of taxpayer dollars a year to incarcerate drug- and alcohol-addicted people.” The amount of money spent on addicted people is astonishing. This dollar amount could be greatly reduced if proper treatment programs we put into place. Opiates can alter the way the brain functions. Once such drug, hydrocodone, has become popular because it is easy to get a prescription for.
Hydrocodone that is combined with acetaminophen is known as vicodin. Use of this drug has been increasing over the past decade as an estimated 7 million dosage units were diverted by the DEA in 1994 and in 1997 over 11 million. Over 56 million new prescriptions were written for hydrocodone products and by 2000 over 89 million were written. The average consumption nationwide has increased 300% from 1990 on. There has been a 500% increase in the number of Emergency Department visits that are contributed to hydrocodone abuse. In 2000, the estimated visits were 19,221. The DEA laboratory system seized and analyzed over 1.3 million hydrocodone tablets in 1997. Since hydrocodone is considered to be morphine like in every aspect, it is easy to see why one may choose to use and abuse this substance. For the hydrocodone abuser, the quickest way to feel the effects of vicodin is to snort it. The way that vicodin acts on the brain can cause it 's user to experience feelings of euphoria. Snorting vicodin speeds up the usual effects, and brings