The Vermont House Judiciary Committee has approved legislation decriminalizing possession of the opioid use disorder treatment drug buprenorphine.
Department of Public Safety Commissioner Tom Anderson tells Vermont Public Radio he supports the use of buprenorphine, also known by the brand name Suboxone, as long as it's part of a doctor-supervised treatment program.
He says it is still a "dangerous drug" that can lead to physical dependence.
Burlington Police Chief Brandon Del Pozo says his department stopped making arrests for misdemeanor possession of buprenorphine nine months ago.
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He says overdose deaths in Chittenden County decreased 50 percent last year, and access to buprenorphine is helping mitigate what he calls a "public health crisis."
The decriminalization bill needs approval from the Health Care Committee before getting a full House vote.