“We're losing this battle. The rest of America is losing this battle,” said Governor Shumlin.
Governor Shumlin has long said drug addiction is one of Vermont’s biggest problems.
So much so his state of the state address was focused on it.
“We all know that the best way to avoid addiction is to prevent addiction in the first place,” said Shumlin.
The state has a plan. The Governor along with Health Commissioner Dr. Harry Chen announced a new preventive plan funded by a 10 million dollar Federal Grant.
“This is all part of a comprehensive approach to this problem, to this public health crisis of addiction and substance misuse,” said Dr. Chen.
Dr. Chen says the state has spent a lot of money working the problem from the other end- trying to help people recover.
But this plan is focused on trying to help prevent people from becoming addicted in the first place.
“It’s all about high quality preventive care to work upstream from the actual place we've been spending most of our energy and most of our money,” said Dr. Chen.
The money will be split between ten practices throughout the state- including at the Community Health Center of Burlington.
It will help the center increase staff and pay for employees to go through addiction specific training.
“Some of the training will be how to provide the motivational interviewing so that we are working with the patient where they are at and helping them make some positive changes and set goals,” said Naya Pyskacek, with the Community Health Center of Burlington.
Governor Shumlin says preventing addiction will not only help individuals but will also help avoid crimes that so often come with addiction.
“We're trying to accomplish the goal of reversing the trends,” said Governor Shumlin.
The Governor estimates the new prevention plan will help fill an unmet need of an estimated 18 thousand Vermonters who might not have otherwise received help for addiction. The participating practices will begin implementing the program in the next few weeks.
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