Del. Division of Public Health awarded $5.8 million to fight opioid epidemic

DOVER, Del. – The Centers for Disease Control awarded the Delaware Division of Public Health $5.8 million dollars to expand resources in the fight against the opioid epidemic.

The money will mainly go toward two things: prevention and surveillance, which includes data collection and data sharing. But officials tell 47 ABC that a big part of this grant will be focused somewhere you may not expect: in the doctor’s office.

“We are in the midst of an epidemic like we have never seen in public health,” Dr. Karyl Rattay, with the Delaware Division of Public Health, said.

Now, armed with a $5.8 million dollar grant, The Delaware Division of Public Health is hoping to tackle the opioid epidemic, by putting a special focus on prescription medicine.

“Even though many people think that opioid prescribing is no longer an issue, it actually still is a big issue,” Dr. Rattay said.

And mass prescribing is something that impacts thousands of Delawareans.

“Delaware is one of the highest prescribing states in the nation for high-dose prescribing as well as long acting opioid prescribing,” Dr. Rattay explained.

Doctors admit that a change can start with them. They say they need to help their patients understand that a quick-fix isn’t always the answer.

“We have to kind of take a step back and make patients understand that if there is pain, there are other modalities that we can use for pain, it may take a few extra days, but they are non-addictive modalities that will help them,” Dr. Uday Jani, an integrated medicine physician, said.

But the fight doesn’t end in the doctor’s office. Ending the stigma around opioid addiction is equally as important.

“We know that stigma against addiction is a big barrier to people accessing care,” Dr. Rattay said.

And so sometimes, caring for patients means meeting them where they’re at, even if that place is their addiction.

“Once the patient gets addicted, we have to give the patient the means to recover from it,” Dr. Jani added.

Categories: Delaware, Local News