Chittenden Man Makes Impassioned Case for More Treatment for Heroin Addicts

Roland Smith, 35, has lived in Vermont all his life. He lives in Chittenden.
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think the community of Chittenden is strong?”
Mr. Smith: “Yeah, for the most part, you know, I mean they got a good background, you know, they got good, they have, they do good stuff for the community, you know, as small as the town is. I mean there’s a lot of people who go on that have second homes there. So they’re not full time residents. They could always use more jobs, or more businesses. I mean, they got a couple decent businesses there and there’s some people that do their own company work and stuff like construction things like that you know. Small businesses.”
Vermont Gossip: “Is there a central place to hang out in Chittenden?”
Mr. Smith: “Not really, unless you consider the playground at the school. I mean, they got tennis courts and the playground for like, but they don’t really have like a park or anything.”
Vermont Gossip: “Would you like to see one?”
Mr. Smith: “I mean we have a lot of national forest in town. There’s the Chittenden reservoir and stuff, so there’s, you know there’s stuff to do. And there’s a hike, there’s trails you know you can hike on the VASA trails and stuff, you know, so I think as far as like a park park, no not really. I mean because they got everything at the playground at the school that you would have in a park pretty much.”
Vermont Gossip: “Would you like to see community dances and if they were held would you attend?”
Mr. Smith: “I’d like to see something, like you know dances or you know like plays or something like that maybe, but I don’t dance so as far as dancing goes, no not me personally.”
Vermont Gossip: “What do you think could be done to deal with the heroin and opioid crisis in Vermont?”
Mr. Smith: “I think they should let more doctors be able to prescribe help if the people want it because the waiting lists are so long, and as far as shutting down pharmacies or whatever for selling i guess needles to people that aren’t just diabetic, they’re putting a crunch on the people that were doing drugs using them…chance of getting infections because they were reusing needles and they weren’t able to get new ones. And they just got the needle exchange in Rutland like a year ago, which is a good thing, you know, but they come around like once a week or once every two weeks. Like, if they had more things like that…I mean I know that’s not necessarily helping it’s kind of giving em a crutch to get away on, but it’s a lot better than spreading disease.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think the older generations are supportive enough of the younger generations in Vermont?”
Mr. Smith: “Not necessarily because i feel that some of the older people in Vermont don’t really they don’t understand like uh, the crisis of, like they think, ‘Oh yeah you can just quit drugs and it’s okay.’ But it’s not. It’s kind of like alcoholism, it’s bad. I mean you can’t necessarily die from it like you can from detoxing from alcohol but the old people don’t support the want to have more help to come in for the drug addicts, you know like more doctors being able to prescribe Suboxon and needle exchange, or the clinic, there’s not a lot of older people who are real supportive of that.
Vermont Gossip: “What’s newsworthy and relevant in your life right now?”
Mr. Smith: “I’m just waiting for spring so I can go back to doing construction again. That’s pretty much what I’m waiting for right now. I mean I don’t have any real happy things going on in my life. I’m an only child and I just kind of stick to myself for the most part.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you like living in Vermont?”
Mr. Smith: “Yeah, but I’d like to go somewhere else and see what it’s like. You know, like South or maybe towards the West. I’ve never been down South or out West. I’m getting a little older I should see some of the country.”
Vermont Gossip: “Are you married?”
Mr. Smith: “Yes I am.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you have kids?”
Mr. Smith: “No.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe there are tensions between old Vermonters and new Vermonters?”
Mr. Smith: “Yeah, and most of that’s due to lack of respect from the younger generation to the older generation. I mean I see that a lot like…kids they don’t really have any respect for their parents or anything nowadays. Course it’s also in how they’re raised. I mean I was raised where you’re seen and not heard. That kind of thing.”
Vermont Gossip: “Explain ‘seen not heard.’ What does that mean?”
Mr. Smith: “Like children are meant to be seen and not heard. You only spoken if spoken to. They don’t get all rowdy and make a bunch of noise and stuff. They play with their toys and sit on the couch or wherever, and there’s other adults talking and stuff, they don’t try to always interrupt.”
Vermont Gossip: “And that worked for you?”
Mr. Smith: “Yeah, for the most part, I mean I have consideration for my older generation, and I don’t interrupt people all the time, and I didn’t lash out when I was a kid. I didn’t get in trouble as much as some of the other kids that whose parents didn’t discipline them as much. Maybe I got a little too much, but I didn’t get beat and I didn’t get put in a closet. I didn’t get reprimanded and I can remember the five or six times I did get reprimanded was cuz of something I did that I wasn’t supposed to.”
Vermont Gossip: “So you believe we do have to reprimand kids when they do something wrong?”
Mr. Smith: “Yeah, maybe not physically. Maybe not like total spanking, stuff like that, cuz that can get out of control very easily.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe elementary school students should be taught how to grow food in a hands on environment?”
Mr. Smith: “You mean like garden? Yeah. They should have more I guess like recreation stuff for the kids to do, like growing their own garden or learning about, yeah like growing gardens, surviving, being able to grow your own food and build stuff out of nothing, really. It would be able to help you even if you were living in a city and you wanted to grow plants. You’d have some sort of background on how to maintain them so they won’t die all the time. I worked on a farm since I was like 12 years old off and on. It’s a good education working on a farm.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe high school students who have an interest in it should learn how to make furniture from sustainably harvested Vermont wood?”
Mr. Smith: “Yeah. I mean even though there is more exotic wood out there that you can make furniture and stuff out of. But they should learn you know hands on and what is local that you can build stuff out of, what works best.”
Vermont Gossip: “Would you like to see charging stations for electric cars in parking lots and on city streets?”
Mr. Smith: “It doesn’t bother me. I’ve seen em around. They got em in a couple parking lots here in town. I guess it’s alright if you want to charge your car and pay the money to do it. I guess that’s your opinion, but I don’t see where electric cars would work real good in this state.”
Vermont Gossip: “Would you support an initiative to pair Vermont youth with police in an effort to combat drug abuse?”
Mr. Smith: “I think the younger kids should know that cops aren’t all bad. They are good. Even though they have a tendency to come off really strong. They should have more of a presence not more of a force. Like the sheriff in my home town, he gave me a couple of three four warnings before he’d actually take you home or write you a ticket.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you believe that Hollywood and advertising corrupts the minds of our youth with all the sex and violence and parties that are found in the media?”
Mr. Smith: “That there again depends on what the parents let the kids watch as well, I mean, TV isn’t always controlled and monitored now. It stays on 24 hours a day seven days a week. I don’t think Hollywood’s totally to blame. I just think it’s the way culture is advancing.”
Vermont Gossip: “Seven in ten Americans take prescription medicine, and children in America are 25 times more likely than children in the UK to be prescribed medication for what doctors call ADHD, making America a very lucrative market for Big Pharma do you think doctors are over prescribing medication or do you think these medications are really improving our lives?”
Mr. Smith: “Kind of both. Sometimes doctors do prescribe a lot more medication sometimes than needed because they don’t really know how to control certain people and environments because they lash out so much that they don’t really know what to do. I was on Ritalin for a little while when I was a kid and I got taken off of it because one doctor in Burlington said that the doctor in Rutland didn’t know what he was talking about. I didn’t need to be on it. I was just a natural hyperactive kid. I wasn’t acting out during class or nothing like that. Like so many other kids that have been put on the medication that I know that it did help them.”
Vermont Gossip: “Do you think that we should hold doctors accountable who over-prescribe medication especially opioids and pain killers?”
Mr. Smith: “I guess it kind of depends on their record. On your past of what they’ve done. You know how much they’ve actually…if they’ve even been accused of using a drug. Being prescribed before and what not. I seen a thing on TV a month or so ago this doctor they were having a discussion. And this doctor said he could prescribe Oxycodone he could prescribe enough of em to keep half of New York City calm, but he could only prescribe 100 people a year Suboxone. Now that’s like, pretty whacked. You know, there’s a drug out there that could help some people who need the help. And they only allow doctor…any doctor that’s licensed to handle that like a hundred people a year, whereas you can prescribe a bunch of pain killers to a bunch of different people over and over again.”

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