Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long chosen to participate in national Fellowship on education policy

Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long chosen to participate in national Fellowship on education policy 

Selected as one of twenty state officials from across the nation, Lt. Governor Hall-Long will participate in a nine month national fellowship on state-level education policy.

Washington, D.C. – Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long will join a group of twenty state officials from across the country who have been selected to participate in the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows Program on education policy. The fellowship, named after former North Carolina Governor Jim Hunt and former New Jersey Governor Tom Kean, is a bipartisan group assembled to discuss the importance of educational standards, aligned assessments, and accountability systems. Over a nine month period, fellows will be immersed in a variety of state-level education policy initiatives and ideas to share with their respective states.

“As an educator and Lt. Governor, I have made it a priority to focus on the growth and success of all Delaware students.” Said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “My journey in education has greatly impacted my desire to promote and work for all who seek to succeed through education. I am very excited to be part of the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program and actively work with the Hunt Institute to explore more resources, strategic ideas and cultivate my passion for education.”

The fellowship, which kicks-off December 6-8 in Washington, D.C. will include panel discussions with former U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan, Fordham Institute President Mike Petrilli, and National Alliance for Public Charter Schools President Nina Rees, as well as a tour of the Capital City Public Charter School in Washington D.C. Before the second convening in August 2018, fellows will have the opportunity to participate in regional visits to innovative programs and state-specific briefings in their home states.

Since its launch in 2014, the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows program has established a network of over 70 fellows representing 44 states including state legislators, attorneys general, lt. governors, governors and members of congress. For more information about the Hunt-Kean Leadership Fellows, please visit http://www.hunt-institute.org/hunt-kean-leadership-fellows/ .


Governor Carney Recognizes Giving Tuesday in Delaware

DOVER, Del.Governor Carney on Tuesday released the following statement after signing a proclamation recognizing Tuesday, November 28, 2017 as Giving Tuesday:

 

“Nonprofit organizations provide many services that benefit Delawareans across the state every day. I’m proud to recognize Giving Tuesday in the First State, and to support a movement about giving back. I encourage all Delawareans to give back to your community by volunteering, making a donation, or participating in a community service project

throughout the holiday season.”

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Click here to view photos from the proclamation signing.

 

Giving Tuesday Proclamation

 

 

 


Governor Carney Declares November 13-17 as American Education Week

Week recognizes educators, parents for their vital role in supporting schools

DOVER, Del.Governor John Carney on Thursday released the following statement after signing a proclamation declaring November 13-17 as American Education Week across Delaware:

“All of Delaware’s students deserve a quality education, and an equal opportunity to succeed. American Education Week recognizes our educators, parents, staff, and community members for the vital role they all play in supporting our public schools, and their work to ensure student success. Delaware is lucky to have such great teachers, education support professions and substitute teachers, and we thank them for their commitment to our students.”

 


Delaware Opioid Prescription Rates Falling Seven Months After New Regulations Enacted

DOVER, DE –The number of prescriptions written in Delaware for opioid pain medications has fallen since the enactment of new prescribing regulations by the Department of State earlier this year.

Statistics from the Division of Professional Regulation, which licenses controlled substance prescribers, show a 12-percent drop in opioid prescriptions statewide compared to the first quarter of 2017. The number of Delaware patients being treated with opioid medications has also declined by 8 percent over the same time period, the division reports.

“Limiting the availability of prescribed opioids that end up being diverted, sold and illegally abused is an important part our fight to stem the tide of opioid addiction in Delaware,” said Gov. John Carney. “Opioid prescription rates remain too high in Delaware, but this is an issue we will continue to address in a comprehensive way.”

The new regulations, which took effect April 1, were designed to help prescribers more closely monitor and control the use of opioids by their patients.

“A significant reduction in the number of pills being prescribed means a better chance that fewer end up on the street,” said Secretary of State Jeff Bullock. “Just as important, fewer people being prescribed opioids is a sign that medical professionals in Delaware may be changing their prescribing practices and relying less heavily on highly addictive opioids when better alternatives exist. Seven months into our new regulatory framework for opioids, we are seeing the results we had hoped for.”

Key elements of the new regulations are aimed at controlling the amount of opioids given to new patients and aggressively monitoring their treatment. First-time opioid prescriptions may not exceed a one week supply under the new rules. If further opioid prescriptions are deemed necessary, further action is required, including a physical exam with discussion of relevant patient history and the risks of opioids, and a check of the statewide Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) database. In addition, the state’s new PMP Advisory Committee has begun the process of analyzing the practices of individual prescribers to ensure that they are following state laws and licensing standards.

“Although these are early results, they are encouraging,” said Attorney General Matt Denn. “The Secretary of State and the Division of Professional Regulation deserve a lot of credit for putting these new regulations into effect – they placed Delaware in the top tier of states nationally with respect to requiring the responsible prescription of opioids.”

The regulatory reforms complement efforts organized across state government and in cooperation with Delaware’s community of public health organizations and anti-addiction advocates.

“Each overdose death in our state represents a life lost. Gone are the hopes and dreams of someone’s child, brother or sister. We know that reducing the amount of opioids being prescribed is crucial toward saving lives and a key step in combatting the addiction epidemic,” said Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long.

The newly established Behavioral Health Consortium, created this year by the General Assembly and chaired by Lt. Gov. Hall-Long, is working to develop an action plan that will prevent and treat substance use disorder, expand and improve mental health treatment and recovery and provide support for family members of loved ones who are battling addiction or coping with mental health issues.

The state’s Addiction Action Committee, also created by the General Assembly this year, is actively considering two other initiatives relating to the prescription of opioid drugs: possible legislation requiring health insurance coverage of alternatives to opioids for pain management, and possible state responses to the co-prescription of opioids and benzodiazapenes.

“We are grateful to the Division of Professional Regulation for enacting these new regulations,” said Dr. Karyl Rattay, director of the state’s Division of Public Health. “The bottom line is that precious lives will be saved by fewer people becoming addicted or having access to these dangerous drugs. We must continue our efforts to support safe opioid prescribing while ensuring individuals have access to alternative and more effective approaches to pain management.”

The Department of Health and Social Services also has boosted resources to help individuals struggling with addiction. Educational materials about identifying and fighting addiction can be found at HelpIsHereDE.com. Individuals who are suffering from addiction can also call DHSS’ 24/7 Crisis Hotline to be connected to treatment options. In New Castle County, call 800-652-2929, or Kent and Sussex Counties, call 800-345-6785.


Delaware Steps Up Fight Against Addiction; Begins Work to Expand Mental Health Services

Led by Lt. Governor Hall-Long, new group will develop plan to do more to help Delawareans battle substance abuse, increase mental health treatment options and support families

NEW CASTLE, Del. – Delaware officials, health professionals and community advocates came together Friday to take the next step in Delaware’s fight against substance use addiction. The Behavioral Health Consortium, created this year by the General Assembly and chaired by Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long, held its first meeting Friday and began its work to develop an action plan that will prevent and treat substance use disorder, expand and improve mental health treatment and recovery and provide support for family members of loved ones who are battling addiction or coping with mental health disorders.

“Every day I receive phone calls from families with loved ones who are struggling with addiction, mental illness, and sometimes both. They often don’t know where to turn.” Said consortium chair Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long. “We will directly address the gaps and set specific goals to reduce overdose deaths and improve services for those who are struggling. We have a lot of very dedicated people on this consortium who are ready to get to work, save lives, and make Delaware a model for other states to follow.”

Lt. Governor Hall-Long has been the leading force behind the formation of the consortium, which was formed earlier this year by the passage of Senate Bill 111, and has been tapped by Governor Carney to lead Delaware’s efforts on improving services and closing gaps for those struggling with addiction and mental illness. The creation of the consortium and coordinated plan is a recommendation of Governor Carney’s Action Plan For Delaware.

“We have an obligation to confront Delaware’s addiction crisis, and Lt. Governor Hall-Long is the right person, with the right experience, to lead our efforts,” said Governor John Carney. “This consortium will help us coordinate Delaware’s response to our addiction crisis, and develop a plan for more effectively delivering prevention and treatment services. Too many Delaware families are dealing with the effects of addiction, and we are committed to taking action. Thank you to everyone who has agreed to serve on this consortium, and thank you to our lieutenant governor for her leadership on this issue.”

“We look forward to working with the Behavioral Health Consortium and Lt. Governor Hall-Long to better coordinate mental health and addiction services across the state,” said Department of Health and Social Services Cabinet Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker. “Our goal is a behavioral health treatment system that is engaging, comprehensive, coordinated, integrated, high-quality and person-centered. And we’ll do that by working with individuals, families and stakeholders to identify and reach people quickly and match them with the treatment services they require.”

“As we improve our understanding of mental health and addiction issues, public policy needs to evolve as well,” said Sen. Bryan Townsend. “We’ve taken significant steps forward over the years, but one life lost to the disease of addiction is one too many.  We must now ensure that everyone is working together and that we’re applying all of our efforts toward a common goal. I sponsored the legislation creating the Behavioral Health Consortium to get everyone – from lawmakers and health officials to community advocates and non-profit leaders – at the table, and I’m encouraged that we are now poised to reach new levels of coordination in our fight against the addiction epidemic.”

“In order to effectively fight the addiction epidemic in Delaware we need a diverse group of stakeholders and advocates to come together, sharing ideas and perspectives. The Behavioral Health Consortium gives us a shared table to do just that,” said Rep. David Bentz, chair of the House Health Committee. “We want to improve services for Delawareans and increase access so people will be able to get the treatment they need when they need it. I am looking forward to continued discussions around prevention, treatment and recovery for mental health and substance use disorders in the First State.”

In 2016, Delaware had over 300 overdose deaths, which is a 35 percent increase from 2015. This year, Delaware has experienced 185 overdose deaths. Many advocates recognize the need for action.

“We know that Substance Use Disorder, addiction, is a disease.” Said Dave Humes of atTAcK Addiction. “In most instances, it doesn’t stand alone. Behavioral health issues such as early trauma, depression, sexual abuse, physical abuse and emotional abuse are contributing factors to the disease of addiction. The establishment of the Behavioral Health Consortium will attempt to determine the root causes and look to implement solutions with the ultimate goal of preventing overdose deaths in Delaware.”

Delaware law enforcement also recognize the need for a coordinated approach.

“Delaware police officers come in contact with individuals suffering from mental health issues and substance abuse on a daily basis.” said Jeff Horvath of the Delaware Police Chiefs Council. “In some cases the traditional response of Law Enforcement to simply investigate reported crimes and arrest the offenders may not be the best or only approach that should be taken. We look forward to working with the other members of the Statewide Behavioral Health Consortium to find solutions.”

In addition to the work of the consortium, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services have already launched resources to help individuals struggling with addiction. Please visit the newly updated Help is Here website at www.HelpIsHereDE.com. Individuals who are suffering from addiction can also call DHSS’ 24/7 Crisis Hotline to be connected to treatment options. In New Castle County, call 800-652-2929, or Kent and Sussex Counties, call 800-345-6785.