SVMC Receives Grant for Prevention of Increased Substance Abuse

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BENNINGTON, Vt. — The Emergency Department at Southwestern Vermont Medical Center has received a grant for up to $440,000 that will help identify patients who are at risk for a substance abuse problem and provide assistance or a referral for treatment.

The Screening, Brief Intervention and Referral to Treatment (SBIRT) grant — a program of the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration's Center for Substance Abuse Treatment, in cooperation with the Vermont Department of Health — aims to identify those at risk and conduct brief interventions to thwart increased use of drugs and alcohol.

Until recently, alcohol and drug interventions were focused on the 4 percent to 6 percent of Vermonters already abusing or dependent on substances. The interventions did not provide help for the 15 percent who misuse substances and whose increased misuse may lead to greater problems.

Several health care providers are already using the SBIRT model successfully, including University of Vermont Student Health Services, community health centers, clinics for the uninsured, and emergency departments.

The grant provides $220,000 for SBIRT practitioners — two interventionists with training in social work and motivational interviewing and a data entry specialist — along with training for both SBIRT staff and Emergency Department staff. If performance benchmarks are met, an additional $220,000 will be provided in the second year of the program.


Tags: substance abuse,   SVMC,   

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Protecting Children and Others During a Measles Outbreak

Dr. Marie George

Once a common childhood disease, measles was almost an expected part of growing up. But it wasn't without consequence. Worldwide, up to 2.6 million people died annually from measles every year up until a vaccine was introduced in 1963.

In recent years, some parents have refused to vaccinate their children based on misinformation about side effects of the vaccine.  As a result, the number of unvaccinated children, teens and adults in our communities is on the rise. While those making the choice to not vaccinate believe they're making this decision solely on behalf of themselves or their children, they're actually impacting the health of others. Sometimes with deadly consequences.

How is it spread? Who is at risk?

The measles virus is highly contagious and spreads easily. Spread by close personal contact, coughing, or sneezing, the virus can remain active in the air or on a surface for up to two hours after it has been transmitted.

That means that any unvaccinated individual — including infants and those with compromised immune systems — can get sick when entering a space where an infected person was even hours before. Infected individuals can then go on to spread the illness days before they show any signs of the disease.

How to protect those at risk

Measles vaccines are by far the best possible protection you can give your child. Two doses are 97 percent effective and the potential side effects are rare and not nearly as scary as suggested by a lot of popular media. If they appear at all, side effects are usually a sore arm, a rash, or maybe a slight fever. Claims that the vaccine causes autism have been undeniably proven to be false.

As for when to get your child vaccinated, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the American Academy of Family Physicians all recommend children receive the measles vaccine at age 12 to 15 months and again at 4 to 6 years old. Children can receive the second dose earlier as long as it is at least 28 days after the first dose.

How about adults?

Because the risk of death from measles is higher for adults than it is for children, teens and adults who have not been vaccinated should take steps to protect themselves. "The vaccine can be provided in two doses within 28 days of each other. This is particularly important for those planning travel overseas or to areas in the United States where outbreaks are occurring.

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