Sept 6, 2022 – Depman moved to Vermont in 2007, as addiction treatment was starting to evolve. Before the move, he had seen the beginning of such changes while working as an emergency room physician in urban New Haven, Conn., he explains in a phone interview. 

“When I started working at CVMC, like anywhere else, when someone came in struggling with addiction, we would basically settle them down, potentially with a sedative, to get them over the acute symptoms,” he recalls. “Yes, if someone was seriously withdrawing from alcohol, they would get admitted to the hospital. But, generally speaking, people would sleep it off in the ER and then be sent out with a piece of paper that listed the local recovery center, Narcotics Anonymous’ phone number, the Alcoholics Anonymous phone number, a church group, etc. We really didn’t even know what those organizations did with these folks.” 

That approach, he says, was “wholly inadequate.” 

Depman came to that conclusion a decade ago, after seeing mounting evidence that attitudes toward addiction in the profession were changing: “All of a sudden, I realized there’s a group of people I’m doing nothing for, and I was ashamed about it,” he says. When he started talking to his partners, doctors and nurses, they said they felt the same way.


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