As a part of the continued effort to tackle opiate abuse in Vermont, Gov. Peter Shumlin, in partnership with the Vermont Department of Health (VDH) and the United Ways of Vermont, announced today the Governor's Community Forum on Opiate Addiction, to be held at the State House on Monday, June 16.
The purpose of the forum will be to bring together leaders from different sectors of the community and share community-based solutions to tackle opiate addiction.
"I proposed this Forum in my State of the State Address to lawmakers in January, and we are now prepared to bring Vermonters from across the spectrum to the State House to hear about ways communities are pulling together to improve prevention and treatment, as well as law enforcement, to tackle this threat," the Governor said.
In organizing this forum, Gov. Shumlin said he hopes to bring together those who are already engaged in this issue, as well as many who are new to the subject. Expected to attend are local community members working in prevention, treatment, and recovery, but also business leaders, town officials, law enforcement, health care providers, educators, parents, students, artists, and, of course, those struggling with addiction and recovery themselves.
"As the Governor has said, we can't arrest our way out of this challenge. Communities need to come together to address public education, prevention, intervention and treatment strategies," said Martha Maksym, Executive Director of the United Way of Chittenden County. "The United Ways in Vermont are proud to partner with Governor Shumlin to host this important forum."
He said attendees are invited to come in "community teams,' organized around the VDH District Offices. In addition to large- and small-group presentations on strategies to address opiate addiction, the forum will include time for the teams to engage in action planning in order to bring what they have learned home. Each community team, with the support of their District Office, will be expected to host a regional follow-up event to engage the broader community in implementing their action plan.
Anyone interested in participating in the Governor's Community Forum on Opiate Addiction should contact their VDH District Office by May 23. Each District Office will keep a list of all those interested in working together to tackle this issue. Because of limited space at the State House, each district will be limited to 12 attendees. However, elements of the forum will be streamed live, and anyone not able to attend as part of their community team, will be invited to a follow up community event.