August 26th, 2019

Vote For Vermont: “Understanding Vermont’s Opioid Crisis – Working Together to Create a More Resilient Community”

“The opioid crisis touches everyone in our state. Many Vermonters have family members and loved ones who became addicted after receiving opioid prescriptions for pain. Others were exposed to opioids and other drugs through friends, dealers and traffickers. Regardless of how they were exposed, we know we have among us many who now have the chronic, isolating, and too-often deadly disease of addiction,” said Jolinda LaClair, Director Drug Prevent Policy for Vermont.

Jolinda went on to say, “We are making progress. Treatment is available across the state, through Vermont’s nationally known Hub and Spoke network. Drug Prevention education is a top priority for schools and communities and Recovery Centers in our communities are providing effective wrap-around support to help people achieve long-term recovery.”

Jolinda asked Pat McDonald and Ben Kinsley, Hosts of Vote for Vermont and Ed Baker, Host of the Addiction Recovery Channel on Channel 17, Town Meeting TV, Burlington to do a series of four shows each in cooperation with the Opioid Coordination Council that will feature experts in the field to talk about the various components of the opioid crisis. Pat and Ed recently did a show on Orca Media which explain the various segments. All segments will be completed by mid-June and will be released as education tools to schools and communities.

The 8-part series highlights the science of addiction as well as the cultural, social and economic challenges associated with addiction is entitled “Understanding Vermont’s Opioid Crisis – Working Together to Create a More Resilient Community.”

Listed below is the lead in for each segment:

Science of the Brain and Addiction: Guests highlight the changes in the brain as the disease of addiction, or substance use disorder, develops and progresses. They explore what is required to treat those changes and begin the process of recovery. With compassion, long-term treatment and recovery supports, there is hope. 

Treatment: Guests discuss options for treatment, and Vermont’s nationally-recognized Hub and Spoke system. Supporting, evaluating and improving treatment is a priority strategy for Vermont.

Recovery and Recovery Coaching: Guests highlight the need for a strong statewide network of recovery centers, recovery coaches, and supports. These services are essential to Vermonters working toward long-term recovery, and to their families and loved ones.

Prevention, School and Community-based: Guests talk about the Opioid Coordination Council’s strategy to promote a comprehensive, statewide approach to school- and community-based prevention, statewide prevention messaging, and effective opioid education for health care providers and consumers.

Enforcement: Guests discuss various strategies to reduce the supply of, and demand for, opioids and other drugs in Vermont through law enforcement efforts.

Wellness-Integrated Health Care for Pain Management and Treatment: Guests explore approaches to pain management and addiction treatment that reduce or replace the need for opioids. This requires education for prescribers and patients, and improved screening of patients.

Co-occurring disorders – Substance Use Disorders and Mental Illness: Guests talk about the many people who suffer from both substance use disorder and depression or other mental health challenges. They explore effective prevention and treatment services for people with such co-occurring issues.

Wrap-Up: Jolinda, Pat, Ben and Ed summaries the successes, challenges and opportunities highlighted in the previous 7 segments and discuss the work ahead for the many state partners invested in addressing this crisis.

Jolinda noted that “something we all can do is to take every opportunity to raise awareness and reduce stigma by talking about addiction. Many communities are building prevention coalitions to provide our children and families the tools they need to be resilient in the face of life’s challenges and traumas. Vermont Law Enforcement has steadily worked to increase community safety, and to decrease the supply of illegal drugs. They also work hard to support prevention strategies that will reduce the demand for opioids and other drugs. We are making progress, but there is more we can, and MUST do, to turn the curve on Vermont’s opioid challenges.”

Note: Additional information can be found on the Opioid Coordination Council’s website www.healthvermont.gov/opioid-coordination-council. Vote for Vermont shows can be found on vote802.com. Any rebuttals to comments made on any show are welcome and can be expressed on the website and Facebook pages of VFV and CFV.

Pat McDonald and

Ben Kinsley 

Co-producers and Co-hosts

Of Vote for Vermont

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