Brattleboro Retreat bids to open methadone clinic

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(Host) The Brattleboro Retreat will ask the state for permission to open a methadone clinic. Vermont’s first methadone treatment center opened in Burlington late last year. In his proposed budget, Governor Jim Douglas earmarked money for a second clinic to treat heroin addicts.

Brattleboro Retreat CEO Rick Palmisano says a methadone clinic would fit well with the current addiction treatment programs at the retreat:

(Palmisano) “We are very interested in providing methadone services. The governor’s proposal seems to suggest that the funding will be there. And with the funding, it makes it all the more possible for us to go ahead and do something that it would be very important for us to do.”

(Host) The budget has to be approved by the Legislature. Funds for a new clinic wouldn’t become available until July.

Tom Perras is director of the Division of Alcohol and Drug Abuse. Perras says it’s possible a number of locations will be interested in opening a methadone clinic. But he says the proposed budget will only fund one facility.

Perras says a large number of people in the Northeast Kingdom are currently traveling long distances for treatment. He says a clinic in Brattleboro would be too far away to help them.

(Perras) “The geographic location of Brattleboro does not help a lot of people in the central and northern portions of the state. Something probably in the central area of the state would be desirable. But we’re looking at anybody who’s willing to step up and make a pitch to us.”

(Host) Perras says geographic location won’t be the only criteria the state will use to choose the site of a new clinic. In the past, there’s been local opposition to efforts to open methadone clinics in some Vermont communities.

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