Community Group Working on Opioids
Community Members meet to Face Opioid Challenges in the Deerfield Valley
In June 2018, the Deerfield Valley experienced the deaths of two community members to drug overdoses. These events caused many to stop, take notice, and act. A grassroots group of community members started meeting in July to evaluate community needs around drug prevention, treatment, and recovery efforts in the Deerfield Valley. DVCP’s director, Cindy Hayford, is facilitating monthly meetings that include health care professionals, town representatives, persons in recovery, family members affected by addiction, Rotary & Lion’s Club members, educators, business owners, local counselors, and police, among others.
In the first two meetings, participants identified resources and services presently available and assessed what is still needed in the community to support those struggling with addiction, as well as those in recovery. On July 30, meeting attendees reviewed notes from a 2015 Opiate Forum facilitated by DVCP. Group members noted that stigma around substance abuse disorders, and misinformation regarding addiction and opioids still exists. In addition, they reviewed programs available in neighboring towns. The group felt strongly that our community has to do more than just a quick hand-off to an out-of-town agency. Resources, services, and support with easy access are needed locally.
At the August 14 meeting, Dr. Peter Park, a primary physician at the Deerfield Campus of the Southwestern Vermont Medical Center, explained Medical Assisted Treatment for opioid addiction. He is currently certified to prescribe Soboxone, a medication that permits a person in recovery to stop using opioids without withdrawal symptoms. A person taking Suboxone will not experience the high of an opioid and is able to resume a normal life. Scott Tucker, Wilmington Town Manager, presented information at the meeting about the successful Project Vison initiative implemented in Rutland when he was a police officer in that city. He stressed the importance of community involvement and praised our community meeting turnout of 34 people. Additionally, George Hickey presented information about the NA (Narcotics Anonymous) group that meets at St. Mary’s Church in Wilmington on Tuesday nights, that he is facilitating.
On September 11, 21 group members gathered to work on guiding principles for the group and begin action planning in self-selected work groups around four different areas of concern: 1) Opioid Protection; 2) Opioid Prevention; 3) Addiction and Opioid Awareness; and 4) Support for users and families. Future meeting will take place to continue work on the areas of concern.
This group continues to meet monthly and welcomes new community members-we need your help!
The Opioid community meetings are independent of the regular DVCP meetings and work. Minutes are below.
Anyone interested in getting involved, or receiving emails regarding meeting dates, please contact Cindy Hayford at 802-464-2202 or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org