Gov. Shumlin announces new drug treatment center at press conference in Bennington

580px-Peter_Shumlin_2012Earlier today Gov. Peter Shumlin announced a collaborative program between United Counseling Service (UCS) and Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) which will offer treatment for individuals with addicted to opiates. Shumlin was joined by by Sen. Dick Sears, Bennington health care and law enforcement officials, State’s Attorney Erica Marthage and others at the Bennington Police Station.
“I’m thrilled we have come so far” Shumlin stated. “This will be a realistic treatment alternative in line with our admission that we can’t arrest our way out of this problem,” Sen. Sears said. He added, “Similar programs have been proven to reduce crimes.”
The Addiction Treatment Center of Southwestern Vermont will treat individuals needing a higher level of care in Bennington County and will increase the region’s overall treatment capacity. Services will be comprehensive and geared towards allowing individuals to attain stability and live successful lives while undergoing treatment and recovery.
Under the plan, the center will provide on-site buprenorphine treatment.
“Medical oversight will be provided through cooperation with the Hawthorne Recovery Center, headed by Dr. Nels Kloster,” said hospital CEO Thomas Dee. “The plan is to co-locate the programs at the Mill building in Bennington.”
“What is unique about our Bennington collaboration is the partnership of public and private entities to leverage what we each do in order to meet the needs of an underserved community,” said Dr. Kloster, an addiction psychiatrist with broad experience in opiate addiction and buprenorphine treatment.
This program will join and continue partnerships with law enforcement, criminal justice systems, the Vermont Blueprint for Health and other community service agencies. Although details remain to be worked out, it is expected that the new program will begin accepting patients in early 2015.