In a nearly unanimous vote, the Vermont Senate on Wednesday approved a bill that would legalize possession of limited amounts of buprenorphine, a prescription drug used to treat opioid addiction.
The legislation would allow people to possess up to 224 milligrams of the drug — roughly the equivalent of a two-week prescription — even if they don’t have permission from a doctor, which is currently a misdemeanor.
Supporters of the measure, which has been debated in the Legislature over the past three years and passed the House in April, have said removing criminal penalties associated with buprenorphine possession will save lives by preventing people addicted to opioids from using deadlier alternatives.
Speaking on the virtual Senate floor, Sen. Dick Sears, D-Bennington, the chair of the Senate Committee on Judiciary, said didn’t think he would support the bill when it came over from the House. But testimony in favor of the bill was so compelling that it changed …