Vermont Opioid Settlement Committee Prioritizes Funding Overdose Prevention Centers

Statement Grey Gardner December 22, 2023
Media Contact

Laini Madhubuti
[email protected]

Burlington, Vermont – Today, Vermont moved one step closer to funding life-saving overdose prevention centers (OPCs). The Vermont Opioid Settlement Advisory Committee expressed support for using funds from the state’s opioid settlement proceeds to launch and operate one or more overdose prevention centers. If the recommendation is enacted by the Legislature, Vermont would join Rhode Island and Minnesota in funding such centers, which are a proven solution to reducing overdose deaths. Members of the Committee expressed support for legislative action to authorize overdose prevention centers in statute.

In response to the committee’s support for OPCs, Grey Gardner, Senior Policy Council at the Drug Policy Alliance, released the following statement:

This is an important step forward towards finally opening overdose prevention centers in Vermont, and it comes after years of study by policymakers and health experts. There’s no more time to wait with overdose deaths reaching new records every year. The priority needs to be on saving lives, improving connections to care, and benefiting communities – and that’s exactly what overdose prevention centers do. Bring people in where they can be met with warmth and support rather than threats of punishment, and instead of using alone.”

Over twenty years of research shows the positive impact of OPCs on communities and people’s lives. The OPC model allows for trained professionals to be immediately present at the onset of concerning symptoms, able to intervene within seconds. They provide access to sterile consumption equipment, overdose reversal medication, drug checking tools, and connections to critical health and social services, including treatment. The model also plays a critical role in supporting the surrounding community by bringing public drug use inside and collecting hazardous waste. Findings show that proper training and proximity were key in preventing overdose deaths and other health risks associated with drug use.

Prior to Friday’s meeting, The Drug Policy Alliance sent a letter to the Opioid Settlement Advisory Committee sharing research on the issue and data from OnPoint NYC. OnPoint, based in New York City, operates the first locally approved OPCs in the United States. In just one year:

Within two years of operation, OnPoint’s staff has now intervened in over 1,200 overdoses. OnPoint’s two years of successfully serving their communities illustrates the life-saving power of centering compassion over punishment.

Overdose prevention centers are an evidence-based strategy and are vital to addressing the overdose death crisis. These centers play an essential role as part of a larger public health approach to drug policy. They are intended to complement – not replace – existing prevention, harm reduction and treatment interventions.


About Drug Policy Alliance

The Drug Policy Alliance is the leading organization in the U.S. working to end the drug war, repair its harms, and build a non-punitive, equitable, and regulated drug market. We envision a world that embraces the full humanity of people, regardless of their relationship to drugs. We advocate that the regulation of drugs be grounded in evidence, health, equity, and human rights. In collaboration with other movements and at every policy level, we change laws, advance justice, and save lives. Learn more at

A young woman holds a sign that says "End the Drug War."

Sign up for updates from DPA.