January 2016 – Chittenden County Opioid Alliance Organized.
State, local government, police and non-profit leaders and community members have organized to mount a comprehensive, mutually reinforcing approach to reduce opioid abuse in Burlington and Chittenden County. Four action teams are focused on treatment access and recovery support, communitty-level rapid intervention, community prevention, and workforce development.
MAR 31, 2016 NEWS: Community Solutions to Opioid Addiction Conference
April 2016 – Joined Petition to Change Aggressive Pain Management Rules.
In an effort to reduce overprescribing of opioid pain relievers, Health Commissioner Harry Chen, MD and dozens of public health officials, health care organizations, medical experts and consumer advocacy groups from across the country petitioned the Joint Commission, an agency that accredits health care organizations and the federal agency that oversees Medicare. Signers requested changes to pain management requirements they believe foster dangerous prescribing practices.
"Overprescribing opioid painkillers is a root cause of the deadly crisis of addiction we are now facing, not only here in Vermont but across the country," said Dr. Chen. "To reverse this trend, we must understand the cultural context that led well-meaning prescribers to this point. Aggressive and misleading marketing by drug manufacturers, and pressure by those bodies that accredit, oversee and reimburse health care organizations and providers to trat pain as the 'fifth vital sign' made for a system that encourages unwarranted prescribing."
April 2016 – Hosted Statewide Community Solutions Conference.
250+ participants from around the state learned about the efforts at the federal, state and local levels to support prevention, intervention and treatment related to opiates. Keynote speaker Dr. Steven Leffler from the University of Vermont Medical Center discussed the impact of opiates in the medical setting, and actions being taken
APR 29, 2016 NEWS: April 30 is National Prescription Take Back Day
June 2016 – Convened national experts to discuss prevalence and treatment need data
The Health Department and the University of Vermont co-chaired a meeting of national experts to help determine best methods and data sources to use to monitor opioid use (prevalence) in Vermont.
June 2016 – More Vermonters screened through SBIRT.
From February 2014 through June 2016, more than 60,000 people were screened in emergency departments, primary care practices and free clinics. Collaborations with the Department of Vermont Health Access have resulted in a Vermont SBIRT strategic plan for health information technology integration, and integration of the SBIRT approach into the Federally Qualified Health Care system.
August 2016 – Pharmacies allowed to sell naloxone to anyone without a prescription.
Health Commissioner Harry Chen, MD signed a standing order that allows any pharmacy to sell naloxone to any person who wants to have it, without a prescription. The order also allows insurers and Medicaid to cover the cost so people don't have to pay out of pocket.
AUG 25, 2016 NEWS: Vermont Pharmacies Can Now Sell Naloxone Without a Prescription
September 2016 – Won new grant to strengthen provider and community prevention messaging.
The Health Department was awarded a grant from the Substance Abuse & Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) to expand prescription drug overdose prevention efforts. The goal is to incorporate discussion about prescription drug prevention in pediatric adolescent well child visits and to strengthen prevention messaging in the media and within communities.
SEP 2, 1016 NEWS: Collaborating for Families Affected by Substance Use
October 2016 – Fewer people are waiting for treatment.
In 2016, more than 6,000 Vermonters were receiving medication-assisted treatment through the Care Alliance for Opioid Addiction's Hub & Spoke treatment model. This is about double the number in 2012, and fewer people are on wait lists for treatment.
October 2016 – Vermont can share prescription drug monitoring data with New York, Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Connecticut.
Naloxone Overdose Rescue Project Expanded.
Expanded pilot project over the year by providing overdose rescue kits free of charge at 19 community distribution sites by the end of 2016.