Health officials prepare for meth in Vermont

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(Host) The problem of methamphetamine addiction is not yet wide-spread in Vermont, but public health and addiction experts are warning that the problem will arrive here soon. “Meth” is a highly addictive drug made by cooking a combination of toxic chemicals and over-the-counter drugs.

Barbara Cimaglio is the director of the Health Department’s Alcohol and Drug Abuse Program. She says Vermont’s experience with heroin problems is an indication that meth could become a problem here as well:

(Cimaglio) “We are always in the top 20 percent of states for our drug and alcohol problems. So because of the history with drugs in general, we know we are more at risk for this new particular problem coming through our borders.”

(Host) Methamphetamine addiction has ravaged communities in western states. Federal drug enforcement agencies say meth is moving eastward across the U.S. Dr. Penny Grant is with Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center. She says two factors make Vermont especially vulnerable:

(Grant) “Number 1 is that users and cookers from other states know the problem is not rooted here yet so therefore awareness might not be as raised. And number 2, the rural nature of these states does make it easy to go and put a lab in the middle of the woods and hope that nobody catches you.”

(Host) The federal Methamphetamine Elimination Act went into effect last week. It regulates the sale of over-the-counter drugs that contain ephedrine, one of the components used in the manufacture of methamphetamine. A similar bill is being considered in the Vermont Legislature.

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