‘Recovery Rides’ offered to county residents getting over addiction

MIDDLEBURY — The new “Recovery Rides” service addresses one of the major hurdles for people in rural areas who are seeking treatment for substance use challenges: lack of transportation.
This service, offered by Burlington Labs, is a free shuttle bus offered in Addison County.
The “Recovery Rides” pilot program is a direct result of discussions coming out of the governor’s Community Forum on Opiate Addiction and the Addison County Opiate Treatment Committee, which brings community members together to develop the services needed to treat addiction. These community groups clearly indicated that as treatment services expand, transportation was needed to ensure those who can’t drive and don’t live near a bus route can get to the services they need to gain healthier lives.
“If people could get here more easily from places like Bristol and Vergennes, we’d see a lot more people coming here,” said Bill Brim, director of the Turning Point Center of Addison County. The recovery center, located in Middlebury’s Marble Works district, offers free one-on-one peer recovery coaching, referrals to housing and job opportunities, and many other types of support for individuals in treatment and recovery.
“There’s a huge need for this type of van service,” Brim said. “We’re behind it 100 percent.”
“Recovery Rides” will be offered free of charge to anyone in need of transportation to a treatment or recovery-based service, such as doctors’ and counseling appointments, Intensive Outpatient Services, 12-step meetings (such as Alcoholics Anonymous and Narcotics Anonymous), medication dispensing or prescription pick-ups, and regular required urine drug screenings.
The discreet, unmarked van will operate throughout the county. Burlington Labs has designated 13 central pick-up points in each town to include New Haven, Bristol, Middlebury, Salisbury, Leicester, Whiting, Cornwall, Shoreham, Bridport and Addison. The van will operate Monday through Friday, from 7:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Anyone in a treatment program and in need of a ride can call the Recovery Rides hotline at (802) 318-5604 to schedule a pickup, or for more information visit www.burlingtonlabs.com.
Burlington Labs, a clinical drug testing company whose mission is focused on improving the lives of people in treatment and recovery, launched this pilot program with the intent to expand to other communities in Vermont and in other states. Burlington Labs has opened nine walk-in patient service centers in Vermont, including Middlebury, Rutland and Springfield, to make routine drug testing more convenient for both providers and patients. The Recovery Rides program is the latest service enhancement to make substance abuse treatment more accessible.
“There are already so many chemical, psychological, economic and social barriers to starting, and sticking with, a drug treatment program,” said Michael Casarico, Burlington Labs co-founder and CEO, who is, himself, in long-term recovery. “By providing transportation, we can remove a significant hurdle for someone living in a rural area who’s had their driving privileges revoked or who can’t afford a car.”

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