GOVERNOR PHIL SCOTT, OPIOID COORDINATION COUNCIL RELEASE RECOMMENDATIONS FOR PROGRESS ON ADDRESSING OPIOID CRISIS
Montpelier, Vt. – In a press conference Thursday, Governor Phil Scott, Secretary of Human Services Al Gobeille, Public Safety Commissioner Thomas Anderson, Health Commissioner Mark Levine and Director of Drug Prevention Jolinda LaClair marked the release of the Opioid Coordination Council’s 2019 report, Building Bridges. This is the second annual report from the Council to the Governor, making policy and strategic recommendations to strengthen the state’s approach to addressing the opioid crisis.
“I want to thank the Council for their work, recommendations and insights as we work, together, to continuously improve our response to the devastating impact of opioid addiction,” said Governor Scott. “Vermont’s leadership in this area is the result of so many, over many years - we’re truly all in this together.”
Building Bridges makes recommendations in the areas of prevention, treatment, intervention, recovery and enforcement, including opportunities for enhanced statewide integration and collaboration. To view these recommendations, visit http://www.healthvermont.gov/response/alcohol-drugs/governors-opioid-coordination-council.
Vermont has been recognized as a leader in its response to a consistent rise in opioid addiction across the country. Governor Scott established the Council to support and strengthen the state’s response through greater coordination and alignment of efforts.
Through tobacco settlement monies secured last year by Attorney General TJ Donovan, the Legislature and Administration are taking steps forward on the recommendations of the Council, as well as legislative priorities, including:
- In fiscal years 2019 and 2020, the state will invest $800,000 to expand access to Medication Assisted Treatment (MAT) in corrections facilities.
- Over the next three years, starting in fiscal year 2019, Vermont will support the staff required to provide low-barrier access to suboxone, and investment of about $200,000/year.
- Beginning in fiscal year 2020 and continuing into 2021, the state will invest $200,000/year to support a nurse home visiting program.
- In fiscal year 2019, the state invested $1 million to expand the syringe service program, also known as the syringe exchange program, and is also broadening the array of services to include counselling.
- Finally, in this fiscal year as well as the next two, the state is investing $200,000/year for after school programming, with a focus on engaging youth while parents are at work.
Additionally, the Council continues its work to establish and advance recovery supports, including ongoing development of a Recovery Friendly Workplace Initiative and recovery housing in partnership with the Vermont Housing and Conservation Board, as well as expanding availability of intervention services in collaboration with the Chittenden County Opioid Alliance.
“We sometimes say the antidote to addiction is connection. Truly, the pathway to recovery – for our communities, families, and individuals – is human connection,” said LaClair. “Statewide and community leaders together with people in recovery, families and loved ones – this is the path to make real change. Vermont needs to weave the connection between prevention and recovery, supporting resilience for all generations.”
For more information on the Council’s work visit http://www.healthvermont.gov/response/alcohol-drugs/governors-opioid-coordination-council. For additional information visit http://www.healthvermont.gov/response/alcohol-drugs.