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How Jenna’s Promise aims to help Vermont women in recovery

Published: Nov. 24, 2020 at 5:06 PM EST
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JOHNSON, Vt. (WCAX) - A first in Vermont-- an addiction recovery program for women is ready to open its doors.

There are a lot of different groups involved with this program and that’s what makes this so different. Prosecutors, police and the recovery community are now all working together. It’s a changing of the tide from arrests and charges to provide care and help.

“I ask you to imagine a place that provides hope. Hope for those who have none,” said Greg Tatro of Jenna’s Promise.

Greg and Dawn Tatro lost their daughter Jenna to a fatal overdose last year.

Since then, they have set out to fulfill her promise to help people in recovery.

“We imagine a future where we succeed in breaking down stigma. Where all of us as a community no longer whisper about dependence. That can bring the crisis of addiction out in the open without embarrassment,” Greg Tatro said.

Jenna’s Promise provides a safe space and care for women struggling with addiction, as well as counseling and dedicated resources for educational and vocational training to get women back on their feet.

The organization was applauded on Tuesday by state and federal authorities.

“Jenna’s Promise is a shining symbol of the power of hope in the midst of despair and tragedy of the drug crisis,” said Christina Nolan, the U.S. attorney for Vermont.

As of the end of September, the Vermont Health Department says there have been 109 opioid-related deaths this year. There were 111 in 2019. The three-year average through September is 87.

“Vermonters come together across disciplines to save lives,” Nolan said.

The recovery program has had help from state, federal and local partners to get off the ground.

The Lamoille County Sheriff’s Department is also playing a major role, helping to provide any immediate assistance to program residents, paying for two leadership roles within the program.

“Law enforcement must work with their community partners and recognize that working unilaterally has never successfully stemmed the substance use disorder epidemic,” Lamoille County Sheriff Roger Marcoux said.

The Tatro family is using their loss to uplift others and take back the future of struggling families and the community.

“This is the only way we can solve the continuing struggles of this state, where individuals can shed their feelings of guilt and shame so they know they are equals, not failures,” Greg Tatro said.

A total of six women can be served at one time in the program. They’ll be referred in a number of different ways from the court, other rehab facilities and victims’ advocates.

The first program resident is expected soon.

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