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(J.R.H. 40)

Offered by: Representatives Lippert of Hinesburg, Pugh of South Burlington and Severance of Colchester.

Whereas, according to the report entitled "Use of Alcohol and Illicit Drugs and Need for Treatment among the Vermont Household Population: 1995" prepared by the Vermont department of health, an estimated 2,000 persons in Vermont use either opiates or heroin, and

Whereas, the consequences of untreated heroin addiction include increased crime, death, disease, health care expenditures and joblessness, and

Whereas, according to the National Institutes of Health, while the causative factors of an individual's initial use of heroin are poorly understood, it is clear that once the individual is dependent on opiates, such dependency constitutes a medical disorder, and

Whereas, pharmacological treatment, when coupled with nonpharmacological treatment services, is recognized by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine, the National Institutes of Health, the National Institute on Drug Abuse and the White House Director of the Office of National Drug Control Policy as the most effective treatment for heroin addiction, and

Whereas, Vermont is one of only eight states in the country that does not allow people addicted to heroin access to methadone treatment, and

Whereas, pharmacological treatment of heroin addiction has been proven to reduce the spread of HIV, hepatitis and other blood borne diseases, and

Whereas, the comprehensive HIV prevention plan for Vermont calls for the immediate implementation of pharmacological treatment for people addicted to heroin, and

Whereas, the White House Office of Drug Control Policy and the National Institutes of Health are calling for an expansion of methadone treatment options across the United States, including greater physician control of dosing and distribution of methadone, and

Whereas, significant federal resources are available to support Vermont treatment programs designed to decrease opiate use and its associated societal problems, now therefore be it

Resolved by the Senate and House of Representatives:

That there is created an interim study committee to examine the issue of opiate use in Vermont, including addiction and potential treatment, and be it further

Resolved: That the committee shall be comprised of ten members, including one member of the House of Representatives to be appointed by the Speaker, one member of the Senate to be appointed by the Committee on Committees, the Commissioner of the Department of Health or her designee, a representative of Vermont People With Aids Coalition, a recognized scientific, medical or health care professional with specialized experience in opiate treatment to be appointed by the University of Vermont Substance Abuse Treatment Center, a representative of the department of public safety, a representative of the Chiefs of Police Association of Vermont with experience in drug enforcement, a representative of the Committee on Temporary Shelter, a representative of the association of alcohol and drug abuse programs, and a representative of the Brattleboro Retreat, and be it further

Resolved: That the committee shall be authorized to meet four times, one of which shall be a public hearing, and that legislative members of the committee shall be entitled to compensation and reimbursement of expenses pursuant to section 406 of Title 2 and that other members of the committee who are not otherwise compensated by the state of Vermont shall be entitled to per diem compensation as provided for in section 1010 of Title 32, and be it further

Resolved: That the legislative council shall provide professional and clerical support to the committee, and be it further

Resolved: That the committee shall submit a report of its findings and recommendations to the general assembly by January 15, 2000.