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Confronting the Opioid Crisis

Stories of partnership and innovation in treatment and recovery from the UVM Health Network and our communities
Caring for the Caregivers
How Greg Freeman and his team at Champlain Valley Physician’s Hospital help employees with substance use disorder build a plan for recovery and see it through.


Too Much, Too Soon? Doctors, Researchers Warn Against Rapid Opioid Tapering
Jon Porter, MD, understands the complexity of the opioid-prescribing debate all too well. Dr. Porter is medical director of University…
UVM Medical Center Program Provides Alternatives to Medication for Patients with Chronic Pain
Catherine Huskisson was living with severe pain and finding few solutions that helped until she found the University of Vermont Medical Center’s Comprehensive Pain Program.
Mobile Syringe Service Drives Harm Reduction Effort
Every Friday afternoon, two medical students at the University of Vermont Larner College of Medicine set off from campus to pick up the well-stocked mobile outreach van owned by a local nonprofit. Together, they drive north to rural communities and deliver free packs of sterile hypodermic syringes, fentanyl testing strips and Narcan to people who inject drugs.
Free Naloxone Kits Dispensed in Emergency Department – No Questions Asked
David Clauss, MD, medical director of the emergency departments of Elizabethtown Community Hospital and its Ticonderoga campus, says the kits have benefits beyond their potential to save lives.

In The News

Governor recognizes Dr. Marjorie Meyer in State of the State address
Spotlight on Opioid Treatment During Pregnancy
Experts explain how their hospitals have responded to the nation's opioid crisis during a panel session Nov. 18 at the U.S. News & World Report Healthcare of Tomorrow conference in Washington, D.C. From left to right: Dr. Alicia Jacobs of the University of Vermont Medical Center; Christopher Freer of Saint Barnabas Medical Center; Dr. Halena Gazelka of Mayo Clinic; and Jay Bhatt of the American Hospital Association.


“There’s enough evidence now that what we’re doing here is working.”
Mayor Miro Weinberger shares how the City of Burlington is addressing the opioid crisis using a connected network of community organizations called CommunityStat. This action team is responding to the opioid challenge as a public health issue by coordinating police, public health and safety, and social services in Burlington and the greater community.
“By far the best period of my practice life has been in this work. And that’s not because it’s been easy or cheerful or un-challenging. On the contrary, it’s been quite challenging. “
About five years ago, William Porter, MD, decided to stop working as a primary care physician and devote his practice to medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for patients with opioid use disorder. He explains how the medication saves lives, and the gratification he gets helping people in recovery.
Inventing the Wheel
Vermonters craft the “hub and spoke” — the first effective clinical approach to treating widespread opioid addiction.

“I think the medical community here in Vermont has evolved from seeing addiction as a moral failing to looking at it as a chronic condition just like high blood pressure.”


Stephen Leffler, MD
Interim President,
University of Vermont Medical Center