In Vermont we have faced a controversy surrounding possession of unprescribed buprenorphine. Many have advocated for looking the other way when someone has a few strips in their possession. As Sean’s family, we are in favor of decriminalization of drug possession. We favor rapid treatment on demand, screening for OUD upon arrest. These measures are more likely to help, not harm.
The criminalization of possession is frightening. This puts more power in an officer’s hands, and less in a judge’s. I want our family members to have access to life saving medication, if they aren’t ready to make to commitment to treatment, yet.
That being said, the real decrease in diversion will be rapid access to treatment. Already, once MAT was instituted in our corrections facilities, the “price” of buprenorphine plummeted. If people can access the treatment they need in a “safe” treatment home, there will be less need for diverted strips. This is what we all want. Treatment whenever a person desires it, at a treatment center or Emergency Room.