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Vermont Statistics, Alcohol & Marijuana Laws, and Help

This guide was made for informational use only. The Laws listed in this guide were researched to the best of our ability. Please refer to your local jurisdiction for accurate laws and/or updated laws. We can not be held liable for legal advice given in this guide. This guide is meant to educate and assist Vermont residents in need.

Overview of Vermont Resources

This guide was made to educate the residents and visitors of Vermont. It covers the opioid crisis, which Vermont has handled very well. We will also cover Alcohol and Marijuana laws. We explain ways that we can help you overcome addiction, find resources in your own community, and how to identify if a loved one is abusing drugs or alcohol. Everything in this guide is entirely about Vermont, including Vermont government resources and Vermont based non-profit organizations. We hope to educate you about addiction and how to get help. If you are in immediate crisis, please call our toll-free 24 hours crisis line found at the top of the page.

Opioid Crisis in Vermont

While much of the country seemingly got caught by surprise by the deadly opioid epidemic, Vermont was one of the few states prepared and fully equipped to respond to such a crisis. No, Vermont was not immune to the epidemic, but they did have progressive reform and addiction treatment programs already in place when the rest of the country got nuked by a devastating spike in opioid overdose deaths, which is now the leading cause of death for people under 50 (and the leading cause of preventable death).

"Vermont was one of the few states fully equipped to respond to the opioid crisis."

A study published by the New York Times found that, nationally, drug overdose deaths had risen over 22% in just one year (2015-2016). An even more disturbing statistic in another study found that opiate overdose deaths had quadrupled since 1999. This is not the case in Vermont. Overdose deaths in Vermont from 2013-2015 remained relatively flat. In 2013 there were 109 deaths, in 2014 there were 98, and in 2015 there were 108. Vermont is a mostly rural state with mostly caucasian residents. In fact, Vermont highly resembles West Virginia, both in population and demographics, but there is one major difference. West Virginia is leading the country in overdose deaths. In 2015 West Virginia suffered 725 overdose deaths, which then rose 13% the next year, with 818 losing their battle with opioid addiction.

The biggest culprit in this surge in overdose deaths is a synthetic opiate called fentanyl. The New York Times claims that that between 2014 and 2016 fentanyl related deaths rose a staggering 540%. Across the country, including the Federal Justice Department, law makers and organizations are scrambling to find solutions to stop this trend. Washington and California are considering controversial programs that are already in place in parts of Europe and Canada: prescription heroin. Other states are ramping up their efforts to distribute naloxone, the antidote for opioid overdoses. Unfortunately, it’s going to take a lot more than overdose drugs to slow down this frightening trend. If the country wants to get a good idea of how to fight the opioid epidemic, they should look at Vermont.

"If the country wants to get a good idea of how to fight the opioid epidemic, they should look at Vermont."

Vermont’s success comes from what is called the hub and spoke model. It focuses heavily on MAT, or medication assisted treatment. Much of the country and medical community still has a stigma toward MAT because they think it simply replaces addiction. Vermont, along with other countries, have proven this wrong over and over again.

Vermont created 10 hubs where primary care doctors could refer patients who were suffering from substance abuse disorder. At these hubs, patients could receive intensive therapy, MAT like Suboxone or Methadone, or even in-patient treatment. Once a patient has begun treatment at a hub and shows improvement, they move onto a spoke.

"Much of the country and medical community still has a stigma toward MAT."

A spoke can be an outpatient program, parole officer, therapist, mental health clinic, or family services. Spokes allow patients to continue drug testing, medication assistance, and support to help them get their life together. The idea is not to keep a person in treatment forever, but slowly transition them into a life of recovery and proper mental health care, since the majority of addicts have co occurring mental health conditions.

Vermont Resources

There are several addiction and substance abuse resources in Vermont. For your convenience, we have listed some of the state's resources in the box to the right. If you are in an immediate crisis, please call our toll-free crisis line found at the top of the page. Our licensed addiction specialists can help you find a program and get the help you need to save your life. Our specialists are standing by 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. Please feel free to contact us for additional resources or if you want to find a medical detox center ASAP. If you know of some other great resources in Vermont, please feel free to send them via our "Contact Us" page. We want this guide to be as useful and informative as possible.

Types of Detox Centers in Vermont

Vermont Detox by City

For your convenience, we have listed the largest cities in Vermont in the box to the right. Click on each link to find all of the medical detox centers in that city. You can find the websites for each center, their phone number, the services they provide, their payment options, and whether they acceot Medicade/Medicare. If your city is not listed, you can turn to our homepage to search by Zip code. If you are in a crisis and need immediate help, you can call our toll-free number 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. We can help you find a center that fits your needs and is convenient for your location. We can also help you understand how much detox costs and if your insuranc will cover the process. Sometimes, detox can cost nothing out of pocket for you.

Alcohol Laws

Drinking age?

To purchase or consume alcohol in Vermont you must be 21 years of age. To serve alcohol in a restaurant you may be 18. To work in a liquor store with closed-containers only you may be 16 years of age.

Where can you buy alcohol in Vermont?

The state contracts with private retailers to sell alcohol rather than operating state stores. Beer and lower alcohol wine are typically available in convenience and grocery stores. While retail stores can sell alcohol from 6 a.m. to midnight, bars and restaurants may serve from 8 a.m. to 2 a.m.

Open Container Laws

It is illegal in Vermont to have an open container of alcohol in the main cabin of a car, regardless of whether the driver or passengers are intoxicated. However, it is legal to transport open containers of alcohol in the trunk of a car.

Home Brewing

It is legal to ferment or brew your own alcoholic beverages and there is no license or tax required. For households with 2 or more adults the limit is 200 gallons of alcoholic beverage. For households with 1 adult it is 100 gallons.

For more information on Vermont alcohol laws visit: http://liquorcontrol.vermont.gov/laws/laws

DUI laws

In Vermont the the legal limit is 0.08% BAC. When you apply for a driver’s license in Vermont, you sign an “implied consent law,” which means that if you are asked by law enforcement officer to submit to a blood or breath alcohol analysis you must comply. If you refuse an alcohol or drug screening, you will lose your license for 1 year.

Vermont does not have enhanced DUI laws like many states. If your BAC is above .08%, you will receive a standard DUI charge.

1st offense results in a 90-day license suspension with possible fines and court costs

2nd offense results in an 18-month license suspension with possible fines and court costs

3rd offense can result in permanent revocation of your driver’s license and possible court-ordered addiction treatment programs. Vermont does not support ignition-interlock devices like some states.

Marijuana Laws

Currently, Marijuana laws are fairly lax in Vermont. Possession under 1 oz is a civil violation ($200 ticket). Second offense is $300, and the the third offense is $500. Over 1 oz is a misdemeanor and could result in jail time and hefty fines. Over 2 ounces is a felony and could result in 3 years imprisonment and a $10,000 fine. This is all likely to change though.

In January 2018, the Vermont House of Representatives passed a bill to legalize marijuana. The bill is expected to pass in the Senate and Gov. Phil Scott has promised to sign the bill into law. Vermont would become the 9th state to end marijuana prohibition.