Focus Areas: Addiction & Overdose
Vermont Department of Health
Stephanie Busch is the Injury Prevention Program Manager with the Vermont Department of Health. She works across the department and with other state agencies to address the impact of the opioid crisis, as well as suicide prevention efforts, in Vermont. This later work has taken on an ever-more-urgent role as the state deals with the mental and emotional toll of the COVID-19 pandemic. In her work overseeing the statewide opioid and overdose prevention program, focusing on naloxone distribution, Stephanie collaborates with community partners—including emergency medical services, fire departments, and law enforcement agencies—to develop community-based overdose prevention training, ensuring that protocols for treatment incorporate evidence-based harm reduction strategies. This year, Stephanie secured nearly four years’ worth of funding dedicated to these efforts.
Vermont’s efforts to address substance use disorder and addiction are multi-faceted and actively involve a statewide network of community partners. The Health Department plays a lead role in the state’s comprehensive strategy of prevention, intervention, treatment, recovery and harm reduction. Vermont’s hub and spoke system of care—where methadone and buprenorphine clinics serve as hubs to office-based treatment provider spokes—has been adopted as a model across the country. The state has been successful in bending the curve of opioid prescribing, use, and misuse by providing information on social marketing and messaging; pain management and prescribing practices; prevention and community mobilization; drug disposal; early intervention; overdose prevention; expanded access to treatment and recovery services; and through a broad range of legislative initiatives and gubernatorial actions.