Burlington, VT- The Johnson Health Center is bringing a new healthcare option to Burlington in 2024 and it could make a difference in the ongoing opioid crisis.

It’s no secret that Vermont is in the midst of a growing drug crisis. With the presence of contaminated and deadly drugs becoming increasingly prominent, the Johnson Health Center has been a pillar of the community in Lamoille County.

Since 2021, the Johnson Health Center has been providing the people of Lamoille County with invaluable medical and addiction services. It began as a collaboration with Jenna’s Promise, an organization already dedicated to preventing substance use.

Daniel Franklin, Chief Operating Officer at Jenna’s Promise, appreciates the opportunity to work with the Johnson Health Center. Franklin said, “We really believe in the way they approach addiction medicine and medicine as a whole and we really wanted to work with them.”

Johnson was considered to be a healthcare desert before the arrival of the Johnson Health Center.

“There were no medical providers in Johnson for at least five years,” said Franklin, “so in large part one of the greatest things they did was to fill that void.”

It’s not just better access to health care, it’s easier access to drug treatment and prevention.

Vermont State Sen. Richard Westman says he loves that the Johnson Health Center is expanding out into the community, with plans to open their Burlington center next year.

Westman said, “It’s a needed service for those people that have addiction services because they have a skill set that other places don’t.“

Geoff Butler, founder and owner of the Johnson Health Center, says their goal in Burlington is to offer a low-barrier practice to reach those who are reluctant to seek traditional medical care.

Butler said, “It’s evolving, the medications that are being used to treat opioid use now and we’re going to have a lot more tools which is pretty great.”

The new health center will offer in-person and telehealth appointments and is set to open early next year. A statement from Mayor Miro Weinberger on the center says, “The partnership between VCJR (Vermonters for Criminal Justice Reform) and the Johnson Clinic is already proving to be effective at bringing new people into treatment for opioid use disorder and at helping this vulnerable population access basic, and life-saving medical care.”