Updated on May 20, 2024
3 min read

Updated Drug and Alcohol Statistics for Vermont

Vermont faces significant challenges related to substance use disorders, alcohol use, and the opioid crisis, with the state often ranking among the highest in the nation for various substance use rates. This article provides an overview of the current state of drug and alcohol use in Vermont, highlighting alarming statistics on substance use disorders, alcohol-related issues, the impact of opioids, and youth substance use rates.

  • Vermont leads the nation in underage binge drinking, with more than 14% of minors engaging in binge drinking.1
  • In 2021, there were 218 opioid overdose deaths in Vermont, accounting for 87% of all drug overdose deaths in the state.2
  • 263 people died of a drug overdose in Vermont in 2022.3

Substance Use and Disorders

Vermont's rates of substance use and substance use disorders are among the highest in the country. Consider these statistics:

  • Vermont has some of the highest rates of substance use in the country, including higher drinking rates, higher cannabis use rates, and among the highest heroin use rates for people aged 18-25.4
  • The annual average prevalence of past-month illicit drug use among individuals aged 12 or older was 15.5% (2017-2019), higher than both the regional average (12.1%) and the national average (8.2%).5
  • The annual average prevalence of past-year substance use disorder among individuals aged 12 or older was 21.1% (2017-2019), similar to the regional average (19.8%) but higher than the national average (14.7%).5
Vermont chart 1

These high rates of substance use and substance use disorders underscore the urgent need for accessible and effective prevention, treatment, and recovery services in Vermont.

Alcohol Use and Related Issues

Alcohol use is a significant concern in Vermont, with rates higher than national averages across all age groups.

  • Vermonters in all age groups - youth (12-17), young adults (18-25), and adults (26+) - drink alcohol at higher rates compared to national data.6
  • Vermont has seen an increase in alcohol-related deaths.7
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Opioid Crisis and Overdose Deaths

The opioid crisis has had a devastating impact on Vermont, with a high number of opioid-related fatalities and overall drug overdose deaths.

  • In 2021, there were 218 opioid overdose deaths in Vermont, accounting for 87% of all drug overdose deaths in the state.2
  • 263 people died of a drug overdose in Vermont in 2022.3

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Youth Substance Use

Youth substance use, particularly underage drinking, is a pressing issue in Vermont.

  • Vermont leads the nation in underage binge drinking, with more than 14% of minors engaging in binge drinking.1
  • Among youth aged 12–17, the annual average percentage of illicit drug use in the past month increased between 2015–2017 and 2017–2019.5

Additional Statistics

Other substance use trends and challenges in Vermont include:

  • Deaths involving synthetic opioids increased 25%, and deaths involving psychostimulants increased 37% from 2020 to 2021.8
  • Vermont also had the highest rate of underage alcohol use in the country, with nearly 25% of young people between 12 and 20 years old consuming alcohol.1

The statistics presented in this article paint a troubling picture of the drug and alcohol abuse crisis in Vermont. From the state's high rates of substance use disorders to the devastating impact of the opioid epidemic and the alarming levels of underage drinking, it is clear that immediate action is needed to address these issues. By investing in prevention, treatment, and recovery services, and fostering collaboration among community stakeholders, Vermont can work towards supporting those struggling with addiction and creating a healthier future for all its residents.

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Updated on May 20, 2024

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