As Vermont grapples with rising opioid overdose deaths, the House has passed a bill that would allow for the creation of overdose prevention centers in the state that would include safe injection sites — places where people can use heroin and other narcotics under the supervision of trained staff and be revived if they take too much. The legislation, approved by the House on Thursday after emotional testimony, now goes to the state Senate. Vermont has had consecutive record high numbers of opioid overdose deaths in recent years. In 2022, there were 243 such deaths, more than the record 217 in 2021, said Rep. Taylor Small, a Progressive-Democrat from Winooski and a member of the House Human Services Committee. As of the end of September of 2023, the state had 180 in nine months last year.
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