Overdose Medication Distribution Planned For Smyrna Wednesday

Commissioner Navarro to provide Naloxone kits and training at event

Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro, in collaboration with Public Health’s Kent County Community Response Team, the First Presbyterian Church of Smyrna, and the Smyrna-Clayton Ministerium will provide free training and opioid rescue kits to residents on Wednesday, October 14 from 2:00 to 5:00PM. The event, taking place outdoors at the First Presbyterian Church of Smyrna, 118 W. Commerce St. will offer both drive-through and walk up options in order to maintain social distancing.

“Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we can’t forget about the opioid epidemic. Addiction has its grip on our community, and with this event and others, we can make sure that Naloxone gets to individuals and families who may need it during an opioid overdose emergency” said Commissioner Navarro. “While we continue to work to ensure that treatment for those with drug dependencies is affordable and accessible, events like these offer an opportunity to increase awareness and education life-saving techniques and tools.”

Attendees will spend roughly ten minutes being trained to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose emergency, as well as learning about local treatment and support resources. Opioid Rescue Kits, each containing two doses of Naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal medication, will be distributed. Residents who are at risk of experiencing and overdose, or individuals whose loved ones may be at risk, are strongly encouraged to attend.

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse, do not wait, find help today. The Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health launched the 24/7 Hope line to serve as a single point of contact for resources, info, clinical and peer support, and crisis assistance. Call 1-833-9-HOPEDE or visit HelpisHereDE.com.

Any residents having problems obtaining insurance approval for treatment or prescriptions related to substance abuse or mental health needs, contact the Delaware Department of Insurance’s Consumer Services Division by emailing consumer@delaware.gov or calling (302) 674-7300.

Event attendees and media representatives must observe social distancing and wear a face covering.

NOTE TO MEDIA: If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Christina.Haas@Delaware.gov.


ATLAS™ Website Launches to Help Delawareans Navigate to Appropriate Addiction Treatment

NEW CASTLE (July 21, 2020) – The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) today announced the launch of ATLAS™, the first resource of its kind to help those looking for addiction treatment find high-quality and appropriate care. This online platform, www.TreatmentATLAS.org, provides the public and decision makers across the state with transparent data on the use of evidence-based medical practices and patient experiences at addiction treatment facilities. ATLAS will empower Delawareans to seek the treatment that is most likely to put them on the path to recovery at a time when it is more necessary than ever.

ATLAS also will support statewide improvement in the quality of addiction treatment by democratizing data for use by the facilities to inform quality improvement initiatives by health care payers, such as employers and insurers, to align market forces with best practices. State officials will be able to disseminate resources and design future interventions. In Delaware, for the first six months of 2020, 190 people have died from suspected overdoses, according to the Delaware Division of Forensic Science. That’s about a 47% increase over the same 6 months in both 2018 and 2019. In all of 2019, Delaware reported 431 overdose deaths – up 8% from the total for 2018. “We are grateful for this partnership with Shatterproof to provide Delaware families with this online resource where they can find high-quality and trusted addiction treatment,” Delaware Governor John Carney said. “Getting people to the right care at the right time can help save lives and move more Delawareans into active and long-term recovery.”

Delaware is one of six states that has partnered with Shatterproof, a national nonprofit organization dedicated to reversing the addiction crisis in America, to develop and launch ATLAS.

“When my family was looking for addiction treatment for my son Brian, the system was impossible to navigate. If ATLAS was available, I believe we could have found evidence-based treatment and my son might be alive today,” said Gary Mendell, Founder and CEO of Shatterproof. “As I look forward as to how ATLAS will help so many people in need and their loved ones and as I learn more about how the COVID-19 pandemic is aggravating the already existing addiction public health crisis, it is so important that we make ATLAS available to everyone in Delaware and across the country.”

“We are worried about the impact that COVID-19 is having on Delawareans who already are struggling with substance use disorder,” said Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a practicing family physician. “For Delaware families who are trying to navigate treatment services for their loved ones, this new tool from Shatterproof will help them find evidence-based, high-quality care that they can trust.”

ATLAS measures addiction treatment facilities’ use of best practices through a combination of validated data sources and reports them publicly. It enables the end-user to search and filter using different criteria and includes an expert-agreed upon Addiction Treatment Needs Assessment to help guide the search based on the individual’s needs. Recognizing that consumers are not the only market influencer that can propel the quality of the addiction treatment field, ATLAS is also designed for use by state agencies, health insurers and employers to align policies and payment decisions through expert agreed upon best practices. ATLAS enables treatment facilities that voluntarily submit data to benchmark themselves against their peers and design data-driven quality improvement initiatives, making this information transparent to the public in a user-friendly manner. Information is also made transparent to providers, payers, and states in a way that can drive quality improvement.

While all addiction treatment facilities across Delaware are listed on ATLAS, 64.7% of the facilities voluntarily reported on their services and practices. ATLAS also includes feedback from other patients once a minimum threshold of 20 responses per facility is met. This data updates every 24 hours.

In Delaware, individuals and families who are struggling with substance use disorder or mental health issues, can call the 24/7 Delaware Hope Line at 1-833-9-HOPEDE (1-833-946-7333). Or they can visit HelpIsHereDE.com, DHSS’ clearinghouse website, for a connection to treatment and recovery services and supports in Delaware or nearby states.

Finding addiction treatment can be extremely difficult. ATLAS is a trusted resource to help make this process easier. Join Shatterproof on July 21, 2020, as it celebrates the launch of ATLAS, an innovative new platform for locating appropriate, high-quality addiction treatment.


Commissioner Navarro Partners with Aquila to Distribute Overdose Medication

Will provide Naloxone kits and training at Seaford event

Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro, the Town of Seaford, and Aquila Behavioral Health of Delaware have joined forces to deliver life-saving overdose reversal medication to residents on July 27 from 4:00 to 6:00PM at Williams Pond Park. Free opioid rescue kits provided by the Division of Public Health, will be distributed car-side to attendees along with trainings of how the product should be used. Each kit has two doses of Naloxone.

“I am proud to join Aquila in offering life-saving overdose reversal kits to residents. For individuals who are facing the struggle of addiction, or those who have family members or friends in this fight, a naloxone kit is a must-have. For those in this situation, having naloxone on hand is like having an airbag in your vehicle – we hope that you won’t need to use it, but it is important to have one because it could save a life” said Commissioner Navarro.

Coverage for mental health has been a priority of the Commissioner. Efforts include working with the General Assembly and insurers to require coverage for serious mental illnesses including addiction, creating Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act reporting requirements, and ensuring that medication-assisted treatment for those with drug and alcohol dependencies can be accessible.

The event comes as the Delaware is seeing increased overdose rates during the coronavirus pandemic, with 39 suspected overdose deaths in May, tying the highest monthly total. As of the end of May, 160 suspected overdose deaths have occurred in Delaware, a 60% increase over a similar period of 2019.

“Aquila is pleased to partner with the Insurance Commissioner and the Town of Seaford to ensure Naloxone gets into the hands and homes of all individuals who may need it to keep their loved ones safe – we know that nobody chooses addiction, and by making this opioid reversal drug available, we can give individuals another chance to get treatment. Thank you to Public Health for continuing to provide these kits to the community,” said Amy Kevis, Director of Development for Aquila Behavioral Health of Delaware. Aquila provides comprehensive psychiatric and substance abuse treatment statewide. Learn more by calling (302) 999-1106.

The Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health launched the 24/7 Hope line to serve as a single point of contact for resources, info, clinical and peer support, and crisis assistance. If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse, do not wait, find help today. Call 1-833-9-HOPEDE or visit HelpisHereDE.com.

Any residents having problems obtaining insurance approval for treatment or prescriptions related to substance abuse or mental health needs, contact the Delaware Department of Insurance’s Consumer Services Division by emailing consumer@delaware.gov or calling (302) 674-7300.

Event attendees and media representatives must observe social distancing and wear a face covering.


DPH to Distribute Overdose-Reversing Medication Naloxone Friday, Sept. 6 in Millsboro

MILLSBORO  — In response to six suspected overdose deaths, including four in Sussex County, that occurred over the holiday weekend, the Division of Public Health (DPH) will hold a Community Naloxone Training and Distribution event in Millsboro on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. DPH will distribute free naloxone kits to members of the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Millsboro Fire Company, 109 East State St., Millsboro, DE 19966.

Each kit contains two doses of naloxone, and members of the community who attend these events will receive one-on-one training on how to administer the overdose-reversing medication. The Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) will also have representatives on hand to answer any questions about access to treatment for those struggling with substance use disorder. 

“We know that 80 percent of overdoses happen in a residence,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “If family or friends of someone overdosing have naloxone immediately accessible, it can mean the difference between life or death for that person. We urge anyone who might ever have a need for access to naloxone to attend this distribution event, and also to download OpiRescue Delaware, a new smartphone app that provides lifesaving step-by-step instructions on how to respond to an overdose, including administration of naloxone.”

For more information about OpiRescue Delaware, go to HelpIsHereDE.com, and click on the overdose prevention tab.

Within three to five minutes after administration, naloxone can counteract the life-threatening respiratory depression of an opioid-related overdose and stabilize a person’s breathing, which buys time for emergency medical help to arrive. DPH recommends calling 9-1-1 immediately if you find someone in the midst of a suspected overdose, starting rescue breathing, and then administering naloxone. Naloxone is not a replacement for emergency medical care and seeking immediate help and follow-up care is still vital.

As of today, Sept. 5, the Division of Forensic Science has reported a total of 194 suspected overdose deaths in Delaware this year. There is always a lag in terms of both toxicology analyses and death determinations. In 2018, there were 400 overdose deaths across the state, an increase of 16 percent from the 2017 total of 345 deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) ranked Delaware as number six in the nation for overdose deaths in 2017.

In 2018, first responders administered 3,728 doses of naloxone, compared to 2,861 in 2017, a 30 percent increase.

Funding for the Community Naloxone Distribution Initiative comes from state funding built into DPH’s budget for the first time in state fiscal year 2019, thanks to the advocacy of Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long and the Behavioral Health Consortium.

Community access to naloxone has increased significantly since 2014, when legislation was enacted making it available to the public. In 2017, Governor John Carney signed additional legislation ensuring pharmacists had the same legal protections as doctors, peace officers and good Samaritans when dispensing the medicine without a prescription.

Information on pharmacy access and training for naloxone, along with resources regarding prevention, treatment and recovery, are available on HelpisHereDE.com.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


DHSS Receives Medicaid Substance Use Disorder Waiver from Federal Government

DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker says, “In the midst of the opioid crisis we are facing in Delaware and across the country, (these facilities) are another resource we can use to better serve our Medicaid clients in need of treatment for substance use disorder.”

NEW CASTLE (Aug. 5, 2019) – The Department of Health and Social Services received approval recently from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) for a waiver amendment allowing DHSS to use federal Medicaid funding for addiction-related treatment of individuals in substance use disorder (SUD) treatment facilities known as IMDs.

Delaware was the 25th state to receive approval of the SUD waiver by CMS. Previously, federal Medicaid funds could not be used to pay for addiction-related services at IMDs (institutions for mental disease) for individuals ages 21 to 64. Before the waiver, Delaware’s Medicaid program used state funds to pay for addiction-related services provided to Medicaid clients at IMDs. There are four IMDs in Delaware that provide addiction-related services: SUN Behavioral Delaware near Georgetown; Dover Behavioral Health in Dover; MeadowWood Behavioral Health near New Castle; and Rockford Center near Newark.

The IMD exclusion, which prohibits the use of federal Medicaid funds for care provided to most patients in mental health and substance use disorder residential treatment facilities with more than 16 beds, had been part of Medicaid since its enactment in 1965. Delaware’s waiver applies only to addiction-related services for Medicaid clients.

“We are grateful to CMS for granting us this waiver,” said DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a practicing family physician. “In the midst of the opioid crisis we are facing in Delaware and across the country, the IMDs are another resource we can use to better serve our Medicaid clients in need of treatment for substance use disorder.”

DHSS’ Division of Medicaid and Medical Assistance (DMMA) also received approval from CMS for an extension of its Medicaid demonstration project, Diamond State Health Plan, along with its SUD waiver amendment. Both approvals are effective from Aug. 1, 2019, through Dec. 31, 2023.

“We are very pleased to have approval of our demonstration waiver and the added SUD expenditure authority,” Delaware Medicaid Director Steve Groff said. “This will allow all Medicaid beneficiaries in Delaware to have access to high-quality SUD care.”

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The Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of life of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.