By Associated Press - Friday, March 14, 2014

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin says it costs Vermont more than $1,000 a week to lock up an addict, but $136 a week to put that same person into outpatient treatment.

He made the comment as he praised the Senate’s passage of a bill designed to divert non-violent drug offenders from the criminal justice system.

The bill, which now goes to the House, says state’s attorneys in Vermont can tell a potential drug charge defendant that he or she can avoid prosecution if the person enrolls in and sticks with drug treatment.

Shumlin says the strategy is a key to combatting what he says is a crisis of opiate abuse in Vermont.

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