DPH to Distribute Overdose Reversing Medication Naloxone March 9, 2019 in Georgetown

GEORGETOWN (March 1, 2019) – In an effort to reduce the number of individuals dying from drug overdoses in Delaware, the Division of Public Health (DPH) will hold Community Naloxone Distribution events in each county throughout the month of March. DPH will distribute free naloxone kits to members of the general public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Saturday, March 9, 2019, at Delaware Technical Community College, Owens Campus, 21179 College Drive, Georgetown, DE 19947. The distribution event will be held in the Theater Lobby and Rooms 344A/B in the Arts and Sciences Center. DPH is holding its first distribution event Saturday, March 2, 2019, in coordination with the atTAcK addiction 5K race in New Castle.

In addition, a third distribution event will be held in Kent County, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 20, 2019, at Delaware Technical Community College, Terry Campus, 100 Campus Drive, Dover DE 19904, Corporate Training Center Rooms 408 and 412.

Each naloxone kit will contain 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) also will have representatives on hand to answer any questions about access to treatment for those struggling with substance use disorder.

“It is critically important for family and friends of loved ones struggling with addiction to have access to naloxone,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “The data are telling us that 80 percent of overdoses happen in a residence. If family or friends of someone overdosing have naloxone immediately accessible, it can mean the difference between life or death for that person.”

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.

There were at least 291 deaths last year in Delaware from suspected overdoses. Tragically, the final number is expected to exceed 400 after all toxicology screens are finished (they take six-eight weeks) and final death determinations are made on outstanding cases by the Division of Forensic Science. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention 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. In October, DPH also announced the agency was awarded federal funds to support the purchase of naloxone and other programs for first responders.

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 community training and pharmacy access to 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.


DPH to distribute overdose reversing medication naloxone March 2, 2019 at AtTack Addiction 5K

NEW CASTLE (Feb. 13, 2019) – In an effort to reduce the number of individuals overdosing, and dying from drug overdoses in Delaware, the Division of Public Health (DPH) is announcing the Community Naloxone Distribution Initiative. DPH will distribute free naloxone kits to members of the general public, at events in each county in March. The first event will be held on Saturday, March 2, 2019, in conjunction with the annual atTAcK addiction 5K race starting at St. Peter’s Church 515 Harmony St., New Castle, DE 19720. The remaining dates and event locations will be announced as details are finalized.

Each naloxone kit will contain 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) also will have representatives on hand to answer any questions about access to treatment for those struggling with substance use disorder.

“It is critically important for family and friends of loved ones struggling with addiction to have access to naloxone,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “The data are telling us that 80 percent of overdoses happen in a residence. If family or friends of someone overdosing have naloxone immediately accessible, it can mean the difference between life or death for that person.”

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.

There were at least 291 deaths last year in Delaware from suspected overdoses. Tragically, the final number is expected to exceed 400 after all toxicology screens are finished (they take six-eight weeks) and final death determinations are made on outstanding cases by the Division of Forensic Science. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranked Delaware as number six in the nation for overdose deaths in 2017.

“We are incredibly excited to partner with DPH to provide them with a host site for their first Community Naloxone Distribution event,” said David Humes, a board member of atTAcK addiction. “It seems like a natural extension of the event’s purpose. I made a vow after losing my son Greg six years ago to a heroin overdose that I would save a life in his name. By partnering with DPH and expanding access to naloxone in the community this way, atTAcK addiction continues to save lives and keep the memory of all of our loved ones alive.” Individuals who would like a naloxone kit on March 2, do not have to be a 5K participant.

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. In October, DPH also announced the agency was awarded federal funds to support the purchase of naloxone and other programs for first responders.

“This is about saving lives,” said Lt. Governor Hall-Long. “The more naloxone we have in our communities the more lives we can save, allowing us to connect people with the resources to begin their road to recovery. I applaud the work of the Behavioral Health Consortium, the Division of Public Health and our community advocates to help expand access to this life saving medication.”

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 community training and pharmacy access to naloxone, along with resources regarding prevention, treatment and recovery are available on www.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 Launches START Initiative to Engage More Delawareans Suffering from Substance Use Disorder

WILMINGTON (Oct. 3, 2018) – As a way to engage more Delawareans suffering from substance use disorder in treatment, while also meeting their accompanying needs for housing, employment, education and other wraparound services, the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) today launched its START Initiative with a press conference and a daylong forum for stakeholders.

With the START Initiative, DHSS’ Division of Substance Use and Mental Health (DSAMH) will increase access to care and treatment for individuals living with substance use disorder by fostering system-wide improvement based on a framework that measures client outcomes. Last week, DSAMH launched a new online treatment referral system called Delaware Treatment and Referral Network (DTRN) that allows Delaware health care providers seeking substance use disorder treatment or mental health services for their patients to make an online referral with one of 24 organizations included in the first phase. Additional addiction and mental health treatment providers will be included in subsequent phases.

“These are important steps forward in meeting the immediate needs of people suffering from addiction in our state,” Governor John Carney said. “When I was running for Governor, I heard from many Delawareans about the problems their loved ones had in accessing treatment. With the new online treatment referral dashboard and peers in emergency rooms and at other contact points, we will engage people in getting the connection to treatment that they need and also be the support they can turn to in order to remain connected to treatment.”

In its first year, the Substance Use Treatment and Recovery Transformation (START) Initiative is expected to engage and treat more than 900 new clients using certified recovery peers connected to emergency departments, primary care, urgent care, EMS, police officers and families as the gateway. The peers will assist individuals suffering from substance use disorder as they navigate their way through both the treatment and social services systems, helping meet their needs for housing, transportation, employment, social services, legal or financial counseling, and other behavioral health or medical care. The START Initiative builds on the best evidence-based treatment and wraparound services needed for long-term recovery, but also offers technical supports to providers in the community to evaluate for quality and standards.

As part of the START Initiative, DSAMH awarded contracts to Brandywine Counseling & Community Services and Connections Community Support Programs as Level 4 providers, the highest level in Delaware for SUD treatment. That means the two organizations can provide clients with every level of treatments and services, including all three FDA-approved forms of medication-assisted treatment. Later this fall, DSAMH expects to add more treatment providers at each level of care. DSAMH also awarded a peer recovery specialist contract to Recovery Innovations International to help navigate individuals into treatment and to maintain their connection to that care.

“To reduce the toll that addiction is taking across our state, we must engage people suffering from substance use disorder in treatment available today. We know what works, now we need more patients with access to medication-assisted treatment combined with behavioral counseling and social supports,” said DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a board-certified family physician.

In April 2017, Secretary Walker asked a team of researchers and clinicians from the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health to conduct a review of Delaware’s treatment system. In July 2018, the Johns Hopkins team issued a 33-page report that proposed four main strategies:

  •  Increase the capacity of the treatment system.
  •  Engage high-risk populations in treatment.
  •  Create incentives for quality care.
  •  Use data to guide reform and monitor progress.

“The START Initiative is one of the first steps forward in embracing the recommendations of the Johns Hopkins report to strengthen the treatment system in our state,” Secretary Walker said. “Our goal is to offer care to individuals suffering from opioid addiction that is high-quality, comprehensive, coordinated, evidence-based and person-centered. The treatment hubs will care not only for the individual’s treatment needs, but also navigate the social determinants of health that often matter more in achieving overall health and positive treatment outcomes.”

In DHSS’ Fiscal Year 2019 budget, the General Assembly approved new addiction-related funding:

  • $990,000 for SUD assessment and referral to treatment of people who have overdosed or are suffering from addiction and have been brought to emergency rooms.
  •  $328,500 for 20 additional sober living beds.
  •  $100,000 for naloxone – the prescription medication that can reverse the effects of opioid overdoses – for first responders statewide.

Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long, who chairs the Behavioral Health Consortium, said the START Initiative dovetails with the action items in the consortium’s Three-Year Action Plan. “Better connecting people to care when they need it most was something we heard loud and clear from the community during the Behavioral Health Consortium’s statewide forums,” she said. “Peers who have been through the recovery process will play an important role in not only connecting individuals to those services, but also supporting individuals through treatment and involving family members as needed. The START Initiative is the next step to ensuring a more comprehensive and robust behavioral health treatment system for all Delawareans.”

In June, Governor Carney signed a budget passed by the General Assembly that included $3 million in funding for the Behavioral Health Consortium, more than half of which is allocated to increase treatment and recovery services, and $2 million for improvements to the Delaware Health Information Network (DHIN) that will include behavioral health claims.

The START Initiative received a boost of $2 million in federal funding through the State Targeted Response to the Opioid Crisis grant, made possible through the signing of the 21st Century Cures Act. Through the federal grant from the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration, Delaware received $2 million per year for two years. START also will receive funding from Medicaid reimbursements and state general funds.

“Opioid and heroin addiction is a disease that affects communities throughout Delaware and our nation. The devastating effects of addiction cut across geography and do not discriminate along racial, gender, socio-economic, or party lines,” said Congresswoman Lisa Blunt Rochester. “As a member of the Bipartisan Heroin Task Force, I was proud to support the 21st Century Cures Act, which provides funding for the START Initiative and works to expand treatment and recovery services. The human cost of addiction is too great, and we must continue to work toward collective solutions that make communities across the country healthier and safer for everyone. I look forward to seeing the positive impact the START Initiative will have on the lives of those in need.”

The new system of care ensures 24/7 support through certified peer recovery specialists who will meet with individuals suffering from addiction wherever they connect with the system – a hospital emergency department, a doctor’s office, EMS transport, a police encounter or through a family or self-referral. Once individuals are in treatment, peers will help clients to navigate and stay engaged in their own care. Peers also will engage family members as appropriate to discuss treatment questions, issues, needs, options and preferences. In addition, peers will connect pregnant women to existing programs that provide home visiting and prenatal care.

Help is Here LogoElizabeth Romero, director of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, said peers are critical to building trust in the treatment system among individuals suffering from addiction. “Relying on someone with a similar lived experience will help individuals suffering from substance use disorder to believe that treatment can work in their case and they can begin the road to recovery,” she said. “We know that addiction is a disease with a high rate of relapse, so peers can be the person that someone calls at 2 o’clock in the morning when they are afraid they might be tempted to use again.”

Under the START Initiative, providers will be required to track and report aggregate outcomes, including intake assessments, clinical progress and receipt of supplementary services. The first step in understanding that level of accountability came with today’s forum for treatment partners in which they learned about evidence-based practices and the need to improve the coordination of care.

That coordination will be enhanced by an Overdose System of Care, which will establish EMS and emergency department protocols to improve acute response, initiate medication-assisted treatment to manage withdrawal, and rapidly engage individuals with treatment. In September, Governor Carney signed legislation making Delaware the first state in the nation to have an Overdose System of Care.

“The Overdose System of Care will be an important complement to the START Initiative,” said Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “Once the protocols are established, we will have another way to engage high-risk populations into treatment through a statewide system that ensures consistent, humane, evidence-based treatment and care is available and provided to those requiring acute management for overdose or substance use disorder. The goal is simple: to save more lives and to engage more people into treatment.”

In 2017, emergency medical service responders administered 2,711 doses of naloxone – a prescription medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose – to 1,905 patients in Delaware. Both totals were up more than 16 percent from the 2016 totals. Additionally, law enforcement officers administered naloxone to 149 people in 2017.

Deaths from overdoses also increased in 2017, with 345 people dying in Delaware, according to the Division of Forensic Science (DFS). That total was up about 12 percent from 2016. Through Oct. 1 of this year, 218 people have died from suspected overdoses in Delaware, including a record monthly total of 39 lives lost in August, according to DFS.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction in Delaware, call DHSS’ 24/7 Crisis Hotline to be connected to treatment and recovery options. In New Castle County, call 1-800-652-2929. Or in Kent and Sussex counties, call 1-800-345-6785. To search online for treatment and recovery services in Delaware or nearby states, visit www.HelpIsHereDE.com.


Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Launches Referral Network for Addiction, Mental Health Treatment Services

NEW CASTLE (Oct. 2, 2018) – The Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) last week launched its online referral network – Delaware Treatment and Referral Network (DTRN) – allowing Delaware health care providers seeking substance use disorder treatment or mental health services for their patients to make a digital referral with one of 24 organizations participating in the first phase.

DSAMH is partnering with OpenBeds, a leading provider of a health care technology solutions, whose platform identifies, unifies, and tracks behavioral health resources to create single, common networks; facilitates rapid digital referrals; and fosters collaboration among mental health, substance use and medical providers.

Within hours of last week’s launch of the Delaware Treatment and Referral Network, 13 behavioral health centers, hospitals, referral organizations, and other state agencies and support resources were using the online platform to connect patients to the appropriate and needed level of care. At launch, there were 24 treatment organizations statewide listing 66 mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) services. The collection of these network members represents the first phase of the project, which the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) intends to grow to include all mental health services statewide.

“Real-time online treatment referrals and acceptances are an important step forward in making our behavioral health system more responsive for the people we serve,” said DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a board-certified family physician. “Because of the Delaware Treatment and Referral Network, health care providers, in consultation with individuals and their families, won’t have to spend hours on the phone trying to find out if a treatment slot of bed is available. Faxed paperwork won’t get misplaced. And a bed won’t be given away to someone else while an individual seeking treatment tried to get to a treatment location.”

In 2017, 345 died in Delaware from overdoses, according to the Division of Forensic Science (DFS). Through Oct. 1 of this year, 218 people have died from suspected overdoses in the state, including a record monthly total of 39 lives lost in August, according to DFS.

DSAMH Director Elizabeth Romero said having real-time information about treatment availability is critical in helping health care providers make the best decisions about care for their patients. “The Delaware Treatment and Referral Network will expedite referrals for patients and ensure that treatment begins as quickly as possible,” Romero said. “Because treatment organizations will update their bed, slot or appointment capacity at least twice a day, referring health care providers will have a strong picture of what services are available for their patients.”

In its first week, Romero said the network facilitated 95 online patient referrals, with 72 requests accepted for treatment, six declined and 17 remaining open.

The Delaware Treatment and Referral Network also supports the identification of peer recovery support services and pre-authorizations by the Eligibility and Enrollment Unit at DSAMH for certain substance use disorder referrals. In the coming months, DSAMH will continue to add providers to the network and introduce additional functionality and support services. Ultimately, DHSS hopes to gain insights from the network that will help identify gaps in care, share best practices and better manage treatment resources.

“OpenBeds provides an amazing opportunity for providers across Delaware to remain informed throughout the referral process so that those we serve are able to be provided with care in a more transparent and efficient manner,” said Erin Booker, Corporate Director for Behavioral Health at Christiana Care Health System.

DTRN, in partnership with OpenBeds, coordinates multiple independent services and pool capacity, and captures real-time utilization data and referral patterns to:

  • Identify service gaps;
  • Effectively target funding;
  • Identify and scale successful services;
  • Produce program evaluations;
  • Cross-reference data with other databases.

“We are pleased to have the opportunity to make a positive impact on those in need of behavioral health treatment in Delaware,” said Nishi Rawat, M.D. and Founder of OpenBeds. As a critical care physician, Dr. Rawat experienced first-hand the frustrations of using inefficient manual processes to locate the proper care for her patients whose conditions she couldn’t treat in the facilities she was serving. “We thank the state of Delaware for this innovative and forward-thinking initiative to take immediate action in this increasingly challenging time of substance abuse and mental health crisis across the U.S. – one that is adversely affecting our communities, families, friends, and neighbors today.”

The OpenBeds platform already has been successfully deployed statewide in Indiana.

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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.


Governor Carney Signs Package of Legislation to Combat Addiction Epidemic

Legislation Includes Creating the Nation’s first Overdose System of Care

NEW CASTLE, Del. – On Monday, Governor Carney joined Lt. Governor Hall-Long, members of the Behavioral Health Consortium, first responders, and advocates to sign three bills into law aimed at fighting the addiction epidemic and saving lives in Delaware. All three bills, HS #1 for House Bill 440,Senate Bill 206 and Senate Bill 225, are first year priorities of the Behavioral Health Consortium‘sThree Year Action Plan.

“Today, Delaware became the first state in the nation to enact an Overdose System of Care to improve our state’s care and treatment for Delawareans and families affected by the opioid crisis,” said Governor Carney. “We strengthened our Prescription Monitoring Program and we encouraged prescribers and patients to consider using non-opioid methods when treating back pain. These steps will help build on our system of support for those families and individuals dealing with the opioid crisis personally or professionally. Thank you to the members of the General Assembly, advocates and law enforcement for their tireless work on this epidemic affecting far too many Delaware families.”

The package of legislation addresses critical gaps identified by Delaware’s Behavioral Health Consortium which will tackle a range of issues including the creation of the nation’s first Overdose System of Care model to better transition individuals after an overdose or crisis from an emergency room setting to more comprehensive treatment for their addiction. Additional legislation also creates better access and education to alternative therapies to opioids and improved data sharing of health information between agencies to better assess and analyze prescribing patterns.

All three bills are year one priorities of the Behavioral Health Consortium, chaired by Lt. Governor Hall-Long.

“The addiction crisis ignores income, race, and geography,” said Lt. Governor Hall-Long.Delawareans deserve a treatment system that works for them when they need it most. With today’s bill signing, Delaware is another step closer to creating a more comprehensive, integrated, and timely treatment system from initial contact with first responders through the entire continuum of care.”

The legislative package received widespread support from many in Delaware’s General Assembly, most of whom see the devastating impacts of addiction in their communities.

“In Delaware, we are blessed to have a small, tight-knit community that can respond quickly to challenges as daunting as the current opioid epidemic,” said Sen. Bryan Townsend. “The bills that we have signed today are the result of that spirit of partnership and cooperation. They are a positive sign for the future of addiction and chronic pain treatment in our state. Our constituents deserve this kind of responsive government and I am as proud to be a part of today’s signing ceremony as I will be to keep the ball rolling next year.”

SB 225 encourages prescribers and patients to consider the use of proven alternative therapies instead of opioids and requires continuing education to prescribers about the risks of opioids and benefits of alternative treatments.

“Few Delawareans have made it through the last few years without being affected by the opioid crisis in some way,” said Sen. Stephanie Hansen. As elected officials, we are duty-bound to respond with every ounce of energy, creativity, and dedication we have to find solutions and make much-needed changes to our system of care, treatment methods, and prescription practices. As we continue to spend long hours poring through the data, news articles, and legislative documents trying to come up with new solutions, I am encouraged to see these bills passed today. They represent the combined efforts of an incredible team of people from all corners of this state and it has been a privilege to do my part in the Senate to get these bills drafted and passed. With the governor’s signature now affixed to these new laws, I am looking forward to carrying the momentum into the 150th General Assembly.”

“Combatting the addiction epidemic takes a collaborative approach, with many stakeholders coming to the table. The legislation we are signing into law today helps to establish wrap-around systems of care for overdose patients, better identify prescribing patterns and support alternative treatments to opioids,” said Rep. Helene Keeley, D-Wilmington South. “I was proud to be the prime sponsor of SB 225, and raise awareness about alternative pain care such as physical therapy and chiropractic care. Delawareans who struggle with back pain deserve all options at their disposal. I hope we can build on this legislation and continue the push for access for alternative pain treatments.”

Last year, nearly 2,000 individuals in Delaware suffered a non-fatal overdose, yet many continued to be prescribed opioids or did not receive treatment for substance use disorder. This prompted the need for SB 206, to better coordinate data sharing between state agencies and the Delaware Prescription Monitoring Program to study overdose data and create recommendations around safer prescribing and best practices.

“It seems like every day we hear about another overdose, another tragic death or another family struggling to beat addiction. Addiction doesn’t discriminate, and our policies should address the wide-ranging impacts of the disease,” said Rep. David Bentz, D-Christiana. “It has been an honor to work with the Behavioral Health Consortium and Lt. Governor Hall Long to address this systematic issue. The bills signed into law today by Governor Carney help continue to move Delaware forward and help the many families that struggle with addiction.”

Dr. Sandy Gibney, an emergency department physician at St. Francis Hospital was a leading advocate for legislation forming the nation’s first Overdose System of Care.

“The importance and impact this legislation cannot be understated, said Dr. Sandy Gibney, St Francis Hospital. “Utilizing the ‘system of care’ approach for substance use disorder and overdose care will ensure that an effective and collaborative statewide treatment and intervention plan will be put in place. The Systems of Care that are already established in Delaware for trauma, pediatric emergencies, and stroke have paved the way for an Overdose System of Care. All have demonstrated to be a highly effective and collaborative method for statewide patient care and treatment.”

Delaware’s first responders are often on the front lines of the addiction epidemic.

“Emergency medical services providers, such as emergency medical technicians and paramedics, are a vital component of the community health care system, said Larry Tan, Chief of Emergency Medical Services Division. “Our experience has demonstrated that leveraging their capabilities in defined ‘systems of care’ can have a significantly positive impact on survival and the quality of life in our communities.”

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