Vermont opioid crisis presents both barriers and opportunties

  • Date: 04/25/2024

“I think the rural landscape of this county makes it really difficult for people to get the support they need,” said Danielle Wallace, executive director of the Turning Point Center of Addison County.

Transportation is a major obstacle for community members seeking recovery support, such as meetings and coaching sessions, Wallace said. “Once you’ve lost your (driver’s) license, the systems to get it back are incredibly difficult to manage, especially after a DUI charge,” she explained.

Outside of her work with Turning Point, Wallace is an instructor for the Impaired Driver Rehabilitation Program, a mandatory program for Vermonters seeking to reinstate their driver’s license after alcohol or substance-related driving offenses. “It’s $400 to take the course, which for some of the people I work with, that’s maybe a million,” Wallace said. “There isn’t a scholarship, and there is no sunset provision. So, sometimes I’m working with someone who had a DUI 10 years ago and they’ve been sober for eight of it, but they can’t get their license back because they can’t come up with $400.”

Wallace noted there are virtual options available for some services, though those options present their own set of challenges. “We’re also dealing with a population that struggles with that pretty significantly, the ability to use technology, to be able to get onto a Zoom meeting,” she explained. “And it’s just not the same. That in-person, one-on-one support is different and the ability to get to in-person meetings is also different.”

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