Dr. Christopher Lukonis has joined Gifford Health Care to lead a new Addiction Medicine section of the Behavioral Health Department.
A board-certified psychiatrist also certified in addiction medicine, Lukonis brings nearly 14 years’ experience as an addiction specialist. He most recently served as the medical director of Central Vermont Addiction Medicine in Berlin, Vermont.
“I like to help patients understand that addiction is a medical condition that can be treated. Bad behaviors come with the addiction, but that doesn’t mean the person is bad,” he said. “My team helps people recover—not just to stop using drugs, but to rebuild their lives and meet their full true potential.”
Dr. Lukonis received a B.S. in Biology at Georgetown University and an M.D. and a Ph.D. in Molecular Biology and Biochemistry at the University of Connecticut Health Center. He completed his residency training at Beth Israel Deaconess Medical Center, Brigham and Women’s Hospital, and Massachusetts Mental Health Center in Boston. Prior to moving to Vermont, he served as the chief medical officer at Habit OPCO, overseeing the medical care for opioid dependent patients in five eastern states.
Gifford’s Addiction Medicine team will be offering medication-assisted treatment (MAT) for patients seeking recovery from opioid use disorder primarily through Gifford’s Kingwood Health Center in Randolph and the Berlin Primary Care Clinic, but also ultimately through other Gifford clinics by supporting current providers wishing to treat opioid dependence. Licensed Drug and Alcohol Counselor Jennifer Pelletier will be the program organizer. Services offered by the team include:
- Ongoing Suboxone treatment for patients with complex needs.
- Suboxone provider support, education, and consultation.
- Case consultation around the interface between pain and opioid use disorders.
- Group and/or individual therapy to assist patients in rebuilding lives damaged by an opioid use disorder.
“Our patient-centered team works with adults who wish to treat an opioid addiction, whether it is to pain medicine or heroin, with medication and comprehensive recovery supports,” said Lukonis. “We also work with key community players to assure that patients with addiction and their families are treated with dignity and the highest quality medical and behavioral health care.”
For more information visit www.giffordhealthcare.org or call 802-728-7713