Bennington Opioid Response Team Offers Updates
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Bennington Opioid Response Team Offers Updates

BENNINGTON, VT—February 11, 2021—The Bennington Opioid Response Team, which formed in the spring of 2018, is eager to share recent updates on its work and to gather feedback from the community.

“More than ever, the opioid crisis is at the forefront of our minds and our actions,” said Kristi Cross, DNP, RN; project director, Bennington Opioid Response Team. “Our efforts are focused, and we are reaching out to let the public know that we are committed to helping our community overcome this epidemic.”

The group is comprised of over 40 individuals from community organizations, including health care, mental health, recovery, government, law enforcement, housing, transportation, and prevention. It’s mission is to improve quality of life by reducing the adverse effects of opioid use in the community. The team will also partner with a newly created group, Parents Taskforce Against Drugs, to distribute resources and information on where to seek help. 

Recent updates include:

  • In 2020, the Bennington Opioid Response Team was awarded a Community Action Grant for overdose prevention, linkages to care, and enhancement of first responder engagement.
  • The group spent the end of last year planning and is piloting programs now. Programs include a community-based overdose prevention education, school-based substance abuse and overdose education, a program to decrease stigma and increase positive outcomes through medication-assisted treatment, a text-message-based support program for those in recovery, a community health navigator to help people in substance use treatment to access needed resources, and a recovery-friendly workplace program, among others.
  • A new quarterly update will report the group’s actions and outcomes to the community through Southwestern Vermont Health Care and the news media.
  • The group is also developing a website, which is anticipated to launch in spring 2021, for additional information.

Community participation and feedback is welcome.

“We understand our community’s need for regular information on our progress. We aim to deliver,” Cross said. “And we want to be listeners, too, and ensure our actions are appropriate to the community’s needs.”

For additional information and to provide feedback, members of the public can contact Cross at Those looking for help related to alcohol or drug misuse can visit or call 802-565-LINK.

About SVHC:
Southwestern Vermont Health Care (SVHC) is a comprehensive, preeminent, health care system providing exceptional, convenient, and affordable care to the communities of Bennington and Windham Counties of Vermont, eastern Rensselaer and Washington Counties of New York, and northern Berkshire County in Massachusetts. SVHC includes Southwestern Vermont Medical Center (SVMC), Southwestern Vermont Regional Cancer Center, the Centers for Living and Rehabilitation, and the SVHC Foundation. SVMC includes 25 primary and specialty care practices.

Southwestern Vermont Health Care is among the most lauded small rural health systems in the nation. It ranked forth nationwide for the value of care it provides by the Lown Institute Hospital Index. It is a four-time recipient of the American Nurses Credentialing Center’s Magnet® recognition for nursing excellence. It has also received the highest marks possible from The Joint Commission, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and the Leapfrog Group. 

Southwestern Vermont Medical Center provides exceptional care without discriminating on the basis of an individual’s age, race, ethnicity, religion, culture, language, physical or mental disability, socioeconomic status, sex, sexual orientation, or gender identity or expression. Language assistance services, free of charge, are available at 1-800-367-9559. 


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