Del. Dept. of Justice releases report with recommendations to combat opioid epidemic
DELAWARE – Many are calling the opioid epidemic the public health crisis of the 21st century.
In August, Delaware saw 39 people die from overdoses, the most ever in a one month span.
The problem though hasn’t gone unnoticed. Attorney General Matt Denn has released his annual report on the epidemic and part of it maps out what still can be done.
The state has made some progress over the past four years.
- Statutory reform requiring admission to treatment facilities
- Expanded prosecution efforts of drug rings
- Legislation providing legal assistance for prematurely terminated insurance coverage
- State funding for first responders’ use of naloxone
- State funding for assistance to individuals with substance use disorder in finding immediate treatment
- The announced creation of “START Centers” that will provide initial medication assisted treatment to patients
- $3 million in one-time funds in the current budget for programs recommended by the Behavioral Health Consortium
- DOJ’s civil lawsuit against manufacturers, distributors and retailers of opioids
Despite making significant strides, the report recommends that more needs to be done.
31 out of 49 police departments now have naloxone at their fingertips, but Ocean View PD says that they can do even more. “We’ve got to get more into education, get more into treatment, and also we have to get more involved with recovery,” Chief Kenneth McLaughlin says.
According to the report though all the responsibility doesn’t just weigh on Delaware’s law enforcement officials. It also shows more long-term treatment options need to available.
“We really do need more beds for people who are being treated, being overdose they need to go, they need treatment,” Dave Humes from atTAcK addiction tells us. Currently, just over 200 treatment beds are available across the state.
Humes says, “I would also like to see the state through the Department of Commerce work with some of these institutions who have really long term recovery programs because we don’t have enough of that in the state as well.”
Some other recommendations include a recovery high school program. It’s a suggestion that would have high schools designed specifically for students in recovery from substance use disorder.
Another idea, an opioid impact fee, which recommends the general assembly enact legislation creating a fee on the manufacturers of opioid drugs.
Although officials say they’re happy with the progress made, they believe there’s still a long way to go.
For the full report, click here.