Vermonters are joining together to reform the state’s approach to drugs. They are pushing legislation to end criminal penalties for low-level drug possession and replace them with a public-health approach. This includes establishing drug-checking programs and overdose prevention centers statewide.
Criminalizing people for drugs has been shown to harm people psychologically, physically, and economically. It also creates barriers that make it harder to link people who need help with available services. Even the fear of arrest pushes many people away from services that may help them remain safe and healthier. The Vermont decriminalization bill (H. 423 / S. 119) makes clear that we shouldn’t put people in handcuffs to get them help.
The Drug Policy Alliance supports bills pending in the Vermont House of Representatives (H. 423) and Senate (S. 119), which will end arrests for personal-use possession of controlled substances. The bill will:
The Drug Policy Alliance also supports legislation (H. 72 / S. 70) that will allow overdose prevention centers to be established in Vermont. The bill would make clear that anyone using the services of an overdose prevention center, staff members administering them, and owners of property where an overdose prevention program is located cannot be arrested or prosecuted for their involvement in such programs.