The D.E.T.E.R. Initiative—Drug Education, Treatment, Enforcement and Rehabilitation


What is D.E.T.E.R.?

D.E.T.E.R - Vermont's Drug Education, Treatment, Enforcement & Rehabilitation initiative is a comprehensive plan for providing a sustainable strategy to address today’s substance abuse problems and reduce tomorrow’s risk.

graph of Vermont Children who are using heroin, 2003

This initiative calls for an emphasis on prevention by addressing substance abuse issues confronting youth. The legislation includes funding for 10 new middle and high school Student Assistance Professionals (SAP’s). The SAP’s are part of a four-year effort to assure that every middle school and high school has an SAP. The D.E.T.E.R program also draws on federal funding available through the state Department of Education for after school programs.

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Putting the "T" in D.E.T.E.R - Building Drug Treatment Capacity in VT

graph of Vermonters not getting the treatment they need

Heroin and other substance abuse is inflicting immeasurable damage on families throughout Vermont. And, the expanding use of heroin continues to stretch the state’s resources beyond existing capacities.

In Fiscal Year 2004 resources provided through the Governor’s D.E.T.E.R. Initiative enabled us to add additional counselors and case managers in Chittenden, Washington, Rutland, Orange, Bennington, Lamoille, Orange, Windsor and Windham counties and the Northeast Kingdom. Some of this additional capacity will support the treatment needs of drug court clients.

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Opiate Addiction is a Medically-Treatable Chronic Condition

Addiction should be viewed as the chronic, virtually lifelong illness it is. The goals of treatment are similar in many ways with other chronic illnesses.

Like people with diabetes or heart disease, those in treatment for alcohol and other drug addiction learn behavioral changes and often take medications to control their illness. With the aid of medical treatment, behavioral counseling, psychotherapy, support groups and community services, patients can reclaim healthy and productive lives.

Vermont currently has one outpatient opiate treatment program that serves 100 people, and that program has at least as many people on their waiting list as are currently enrolled. The Department of Health continues to work with communities to improve treatment options statewide, and is working throughout the state to increase access to recovery centers, programs for opiate-addicted pregnant women, use of buprenorphine, and drug courts—all essential elements as Vermont moves along the road to recovery.

Through the Governor’s D.E.T.E.R. Initiative we have begun to increase treatment capacity for heroin addicts. One way to do this in a rural area is to use mobile opiate addiction treatment units. This type of service is currently being developed to serve people in the Northeast Kingdom. More information is available in Prevention in the Northeast Kingdom.

Additional information on the medical treatment of opiate addiction can be found at the NIH website—Consensus Statement Overview—Effective Medical Treatment of Opiate Addiction

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Preventing Substance Abuse

graph of vermont youth making better choices

The Department of Health is working with community coalitions, youth groups, schools and health care providers throughout the state to support young people in making healthy decisions.

The results of the 2003 Vermont Youth Risk Behavior Survey show that if young people are given the information, environment, and encouragement they need, they can and do make healthy choices.

More and more young people do not think it’s right for kids their age to smoke, drink or use marijuana use.

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Aftercare and Recovery

Research demonstrates that aftercare and recovery maintenance activities help maintain abstinence and other positive outcomes for adolescents and adults.

The Governor’s DETER initiative has enabled the development of several recovery centers across the state. Additional funds have been available to assist with transitional housing and halfway services.

For more information on recovery efforts in Vermont go to Friends of Recovery Vermont.

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