The University of Vermont is slated to receive a $6.6 million portion of a $20 million package to establish a “Rural Center of Excellence on Substance Use Disorders” to address Vermont's opioid crisis, according to a press release from Sen. Patrick Leahy, D-Vt, who helped secure the funding.

“As a Center of Excellence, the University of Vermont in collaboration with the UVM Medical Center and other statewide partners will be able to build on their innovative work to combat addiction and apply those lessons to rural communities around the country,” Leahy said.

Establishments in New York and Georgia will also receive portions of the funding, the release said.

The money will benefit the creation of a University of Vermont Center on Rural Addiction focused on implementing the Hub and Spoke model to address the opioid crisis in Vermont, and better afford surveillance, education and outreach, and technical assistance to Vermont's communities, Leahy's office said.

“We at the University of Vermont are honored and grateful to have been selected to receive this significant award which will contribute to stemming the devastating effects of substance abuse in Vermont and the nation, in keeping with our land-grant mission,” said Dr. Suresh Garimella, President of UVM. “This grant provides UVM with an opportunity to build on our outstanding basic science research to address this major societal challenge, partnered with the unparalleled clinical care provided by the University of Vermont Medical Center to patients with opioid dependence.”

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