Johnson drug treatment program, health center serve clients despite flood damage

Published: Jul. 26, 2023 at 5:55 PM EDT
Email This Link
Share on Pinterest
Share on LinkedIn

JOHNSON, Vt. (WCAX) - Jenna’s Promise, a substance abuse recovery center impacted by flooding in Johnson, is among organizations still working to help those in need while getting back on their own feet.

“The to-do list keeps getting bigger,” said Crystal Bolio, the director of recovery residences for Jenna’s Promise. The first stop for those seeking recovery from addiction at the nonprofit includes a facility that was flooded out. “It’s a struggle to have residents displaced for a month or more.”

Three people were displaced from that phase one location and were moved to open beds in nearby locations. But Bolio says there’s an urgency to get back up and running. “We have got people waiting to get here and get that first step going,” she said. “Unfortunately, the reality is we do have to put a pause -- we are down six beds.”

The basement of the nonprofit’s cafe, where those further along in the program learn workforce development skills, also flooded. The cafe is back open and even with the build back underway, programs are still going.

“Our recovery programs are still going strong, they have access to all of them as well,” said Gregory Tatro, the organization’s co-founder.

He says as those who need help are getting it, there’s a focus on what could happen after the flood. “We are really concerned on what’s to come with this potential influx of suicides and overdoses.”

The Johnson Health Center was also hit downtown, soaking their offices. “This is the four-foot mark where we cut back,” said the center’s Geoffrey Butler. “Our practice - we lost everything.”

He says the community will still have access to health care and that they have moved to telemedicine and are working out of a separate small office in town. Meanwhile, they are debating about rebuilding and have a message for state officials. “We are going to need help. That funding is going to be instrumental to get our health center back up and running,” Butler said.

Back at Jenna’s Promise, the work continues as best they can. “We are limited on resources on a regular day, so given a natural disaster that has hit several communities in Vermont -- we are looking at even smaller resources,” Bolio said.