New position expands access to substance abuse disorder treatment services
Licensed Alcohol and Drug Counselor Jennifer Pelletier has joined Gifford’s Behavioral Health team.
This newly-created position is supported by federal funding received last spring to expand addiction medicine and substance use disorder treatment services in Vermont. As well as counseling patients, Pelletier is working closely with Gifford’s primary care practices to implement a screening and referral process that will identify patients at-risk for alcohol and substance dependence. Integrating assessment into primary care visits will help patients receive early, more comprehensive care, which can lead to better treatment outcomes.
This work is part of a larger collaboration with the Clara Martin Center, the Blueprint Medication-Assisted Treatment team, and community treatment partners to implement a SBIRT (screening, brief intervention, referral to treatment) model of substance abuse disorder care.
“I have watched people close to me struggle with addiction and know how crucial it is for people get support at the appropriate level of care,” she said. “Maintaining a consistent level of compassion and empathy is important when working with substance use disorders. I encourage and empower patients on their journey through recovery, and also recognize that the impact of addiction goes beyond the individual. We need to provide resources for families, friends, and our communities as well.”
A licensed drug and alcohol counselor, Pelletier received a Bachelor’s in Psychology and a Master’s in Mental Health & Substance Abuse Counseling from Johnson State College. She has worked as a counselor and a clinical care coordinator with substance abuse programs at the Central Vermont Medical Center, Central Vermont Addiction Medicine, and Central Vermont Substances Abuse Services in Berlin.
She is currently seeing patients at Gifford Health Center at Berlin-Primary Care.