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Building Bridges Update

February 15, 2019
Tags: Opioids

Gov. Scott and Team Recommend Opioid Strategies

The Governor’s Opioid Coordination Council has released a new report, Building Bridges, which makes key recommendations to continue addressing Vermont’s opioid crisis.

At a press conference earlier this month, Gov. Phil Scott joined Human Services Secretary Al Gobeille, Public Safety Commissioner Thomas Anderson, Health Commissioner Mark Levine and Director of Drug Prevention Jolinda LaClair to announce findings and next steps.

The new report, which names five crucial strategies for Vermont, “will help turn the tide on the opioid epidemic and build resilience in our youth, families, workers, businesses, and the economy.”

The report’s five major strategies are:

Overarching/systemic: Develop a continuum of care. Grow and support Vermont’s workforce and improve statewide data collection and analysis capability.

Prevention, education and intervention strategies: Implement school-based prevention. Expand health care education, monitoring, and screening for providers and patients. Build community-based prevention. Create a comprehensive drug prevention messaging campaign. Expand syringe exchange availability, supply naloxone and provide training on its use, expand drug disposal options, improve sharps collection and disposal.

Treatment: Support, evaluate and improve Vermont’s hub-and-spoke system. Expand medication-assisted treatment in correctional facilities. Maximize non-pharmacological approaches to pain management. Explore expanded access to treatment dockets. Expand Medicare and Medicaid coverage.

Recovery: Strengthen Vermont’s recovery centers and recovery coaching. Expand recovery housing. Expand employment in recovery.

Enforcement: Provide roadside drugged driving testing. Increase drug trafficking investigations. Provide drug recognition training.

As a new member of the council, VAHHS President Jeff Tieman said he is “honored to work alongside such dedicated and smart people to continue making progress in preventing and treating opioid addiction. Vermont is clearly a pioneer in this space and now a recognized leader in creative and effective strategies to manage the opioid epidemic.”

The council's work has already been successful, among the accomplishments the State has experienced are a reduction in the number of children who are in the State's custody due to opioids., an increase in access to treatment for opioid users and no more waiting lists. The Building Bridges report will aid in continuing the great work Vermont has already done.


Jeff Tieman, VAHHS CEO