he state has streamlined the process for someone to become a substance abuse counselor as Vermont continues to address the opioid addiction crisis, Republican Gov. Phil Scott says.
The changes simplify the educational requirements and relieve professionals from unnecessary documentation, officials said. The new rules also are mostly compatible with other states' rules so out-of-state clinicians can work in Vermont, they said.
"Getting the opioid crisis right is a matter of life and death. It's life and death," said Kurt White, a licensed alcohol and drug counselor with the Brattleboro Retreat, a mental health and addictions treatment center in Brattleboro. "And this administrative rule helps us to do that because it helps us to increase access to treatment for those who need it."
While state officials didn't know how many more alcohol and drug abuse counselors were needed, Scott said estimates suggest 100 to 200. The state has 693 such counselors, including apprentice addiction professionals, alcohol and drug counselors and licensed alcohol and drug counselors.