“It is our job to look at these tragedies and say what can we learn:” Overdose Fatality Commission making recommendations to fight epidemic

DELAWARE- The Delaware Drug Overdose Fatality Commission is taking a look at how the opioid epidemic impacted residents in 2019, and what they can do to prevent it from happening in the future.

Tuesday, they shared their plan of action.

“Is our out patient treatment working, do we need better and secured housing, and what is that we need to do in our treatment plan?” Bethany Hall-Long,  Lieutenant Governor of Delaware, said.

We’re told in 2019 there were 431 overdose deaths recorded.

The report examines 130 of those cases.

“It is our job to look at these tragedies and say what can we learn, how can we help stop this from happening to the next person,” Erin Booker, DOFRC Chair, said.

As a result of the data, we’re told the commission has recommendations to combat the mortality of the crisis.

One of those recommendations being providing safe and secure housing.

“If you don’t know where you’re going to sleep that night, it is very hard to focus on going to a fellowship meeting or going to treatment cause you’re just trying to survive,” Booker said.

Another recommendation is expanding availability for licensed clinicians to increase knowledge of trauma intervention services.

“Knowing that we really need to improve our intervention and our capacity in the workforce here in Delaware around people having education, specifically around trauma care was really important to us,” Booker said.

On top of that, the commission said there needs to be a notification system within the Prescription Monitoring Program to ensure prescribers are aware of patients who have overdosed.

“We need to make sure those physicians know that their patients are having these issues so that way the doctor can help work with them as well,” Senator Brian Pettyjohn, Senate Minority Whip (SD 19), said.

Overall, the commission recognizes that there are steps that need to be taken- and that together as a community we can impact change.

“I think the biggest thing is there’s hope, this is not a situation we cant really make changes and that’s why we are making recommendations because we know there’s hope,” Booker said.

The report includes two other recommendations that include, to improve outreach and follow-up with individuals who engaged in treatment, and to initiate substance abuse treatment services immediately following incarceration for inmates awaiting sentencing.

Lt. Governor Hall- Long said the Behavioral Health Consortium will have a virtual Latino Behavioral Health Town Hall this Thursday, February 11th from 6 p.m.- 7 p.m, to speak about about mental health and substance abuse as it relates to the Latino community.

To receive the zoom link, please register by emailing LtGov.Questions@Delaware.gov.
Categories: Delaware, Local News, Opioid Crisis