Implementation of Testing

One of the goals of the ORS is to support evidence-based response efforts to reduce overdose deaths by utilizing drug-related data. Historically, within the state of Vermont, there was no specific testing conducted on the substances being used within the state. Samples that were seized by law enforcement were typically only tested if a prosecution was going to occur, thus creating a large gap in understanding of the current drug environment. In collaboration with the Massachusetts Drug Supply Data Stream (MADDS) project, an innovative community-partnered project at Brandeis University’s Opioid Policy Research Collaborative (OPRC), discretionary funding was secured to expand the project to the I-91 corridor, a major drug trafficking highway route. Following this expansion, the Vermont ORS team worked with the harm reduction program and law enforcement in Windham County to begin regular sample testing within the state of Vermont starting in 2023. Currently, the VT ORS team engages in conversations with key public safety and harm reduction partners, which have resulted in sample testing expansion into Windham County and Bennington County, in addition to potential expansion into other counties and communities in the state.