- Associated Press - Monday, February 24, 2014

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - Relapse rates for drug addicts are soaring in Vermont according to health officials at two state clinics.

The Burlington Free Press reported (https://bfpne.ws/1c2fj4K) Monday that the number of patients requiring readmission in the last six months has more than doubled at Valley Vista. Maple Leaf Farm Executive Director William Young told the paper that relapse rates at his facility have also more than doubled.

Fighting drug addiction in the state has become a key goal for Gov. Peter Shumlin’s administration.

Young and Valley Vista CEO Jack Duffy blame the spiraling relapse rates on a new state Health Department rule requiring pre-approval for patients staying longer than 15 days.

Barbara Cimaglio, deputy health commissioner for alcohol and drug abuse programs, said shorter stays are designed to help manage costs and improve efforts to move patients from detoxification to long-term recovery.

Nina Gaby, psychiatric nurse practitioner at Valley Vista, said a short period of time working with patients could become an issue due to withdrawal and the lag period for psychiatric drugs to take effect.

“It makes it more difficult for us to really establish a good diagnostic work-up,” Gaby said.

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