ST. ALBANS — Governor Phil Scott joined members of Vermont’s health care community, local and state officials, and representatives of BAART Programs, an organization providing opioid addiction treatment and rehabilitation, to celebrate the latest medication-assisted treatment center to open in Vermont Thursday.

BAART Programs hosted a press conference and open house at the new St. Albans opioid treatment hub on South Main Street yesterday afternoon, inviting community members to tour the facility and ask questions.

Since opening at the end of September, the St. Albans hub now serves 235 patients, according to Jason Goguen, BAART’s regional director of operations. Goguen said this number continues to grow by 10 to 14 per week and expects the patient count to top out at 500. The hub’s capacity is 700.

“I ask you not to judge our patients,” said Goguen. “If you don’t know our patients, I’m sorry to say that you will.”

“What I mean by that [is] substance abuse disorder can affect anyone at anytime,” he continued. “It has no boundaries. It has no limitations. It can affect our brothers, our sisters, the mailman, the schoolteacher, our nurse, lawyers… The list goes on. There’s no end.”

“We live in this great state because we love small communities,” said Goguen. “We all know each other, so let’s support each other.”

Scott kicked off the press conference, taking time to thank everyone who made the opening of the St. Albans hub possible.

For more on the BAART press conference, pick up a copy of Friday’s Messenger or subscribe to our digital edition.