Locations: Bradford, Vermont
“Valley Vista is a 100-bed inpatient addiction treatment center providing treatment for men, women, and adolescents suffering from substance use disorder often compounded by co-occurring mental health conditions. Each program is rooted in a 12-Step abstinence-based philosophy where humility, acceptance and accountability underscore the work we do and service we provide to those seeking a life of enduring recovery. Substance use disorder does not discriminate and neither does Valley Vista; each patient is treated with respect, dignity, anonymity and validation in an intimate, safe and therapeutic environment. With two beautiful Vermont locations, in Bradford and Vergennes, Valley Vista offers recovery from addiction in humble and tranquil settings.”
Valley Vista takes referrals from probation officers and works with women, men, and adolescents who have committed alcohol or drug offenses. They are mandated by the court to participate. Ninety-six percent are covered under Medicaid. Valley Vista is one out of three rehabilitation treatment programs in Vermont that take in adolescents.
Valley Vista can also receive participants through drug court, which has no age range. Those who are accused, indicted, or charged with drug felonies are sent to inpatient treatment as opposed to jail or prison as long as they do not violate any parole conditions. Their drug related charges are then dropped without a prison sentence. Because it is a deferred prosecution, time under parole and the number of urinalyses (UA) depends on their number of felonies and misdemeanors.
The overall purpose of Valley Vista can be seen through one of the counselors. Breana Blalock is a level 2 licensed alcohol drug counselor (LADC). She works with women and adolescents from Vermont, New Hampshire, and Massachusetts treatment programs. She is in charge of creating groups, meeting with participants 1-on-1, and reviewing their treatment plans and goals. Forty percent of the women have experienced intimate partner violence, so it is Valley Vista’s goal to help participants learn to cope with their trauma. Blalock noticed hope and optimism in her women participants because they are pushing through with the program in order to reunite with their children and families.
When a participant starts their program at Valley Vista, they are expected to fill out an Addiction Severity Index. They provide what substances they’ve used and for how long and how many times. The average age for women is from mid 20’s to mid 40’s, while adolescents are from 13-18 (majority 15,16). There is no cut-off for the number of times a participant can fail and re-enter Valley Vista.
The participants are then expected to meet with nursing for a UA check, the admissions team, and security. Valley Vista hosts group meetings as an introduction for participants to get to know each other and state their goals. They are then expected to follow the weekly schedule provided by Valley Vista.
Adolescents have to have a certain number of days of sobriety, and once they either graduate or are discharged from the program, they are sent back to juvenile detention or a foster home because they are underage. However, most of the time, they return to juvenile detention. Sixty to 80% of adolescents do not have stable housing. Although they could return to their parents, their parents are most likely substance abusers or are incarcerated.
From the Blalock’s experience, 70% of her patients believe that they should not be there and that they do not have a drug or alcohol problem. This is because they are not entering the program from their own will, but through court order. This mindset prevents participants from fully taking advantage of the classes and instead leads them to continue bad habits.