Jan. 17, 2022 – Seivwright said Vermont Department of Health surveys have found 1 in 6 people who recognized they needed help didn’t get it — because they worried stigma would have impacts such as costing them their jobs.

The campaign also comes at a critical time, state health officials have said.

Fatal overdose numbers from 2021 are still being finalized, but it’s expected to be Vermont’s worst year ever on that front, exceeding the 2020 total, which saw 157 fatal ODs from opioids. Fentanyl was involved in most of those deaths, Seivwright noted.

“I know we talk about overdoses as numbers,” Seivwright said in an interview with NECN and NBC10 Boston. “These are people.”

Mental health counselors including Seivwright have said anxiety and isolation during the COVID-19 pandemic have worsened many people’s struggles, adding urgency to the public health campaign. People would say, ‘We’re not going to hire you,’” Amy Tatro recalled of her late sister-in-law’s experience attempting to get back on her feet. “We’re all human. And we all deserve a second chance to get better.”

The co-located North Central Vermont Recovery Center said it wants everyone — including active drug users, their friends or loved ones, and community groups and businesses — to feel no shame coming in to get harm reduction kits. Those include fentanyl test strips and Naloxone, for reversing overdoses.


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