Scott streamlines rules to license substance abuse counselors

MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) Getting connected with counseling when you're finally ready to kick the opiate habit can be tough. Gov. Phil Scott on Monday announced moves aimed at making that a bit easier.

Experts say there's a shortage of licensed counselors in Vermont, as many as 200 more are needed. So now the state is streamlining the process to become an alcohol and drug counselor.

"The rules governing the professionals that treat individuals with substance abuse disorder had been reduced from 30 pages to just 10. This announcement is a step toward growing our workforce in this area," said Scott, R-Vermont.

"We need to make sure that everybody that wants to get into treatment, needs to get into treatment has the ability to do that quickly, easily and without barriers," said Kurt White of the Brattleboro Retreat.

The qualifications for becoming a counselor have not changed. Officials say the emergency rules simplify the educational requirements and relieve professionals from unnecessary documentation. They're also compatible with other states so out-of-state clinicians can work in Vermont.