DHSS Announces Community Grant Opportunity to Respond to Opioid Crisis

NEW CASTLE (May 24, 2021) – The Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) and the Opioid Response Team are announcing community grant funding opportunities through DSAMH’s federal State Opioid Response (SOR) grant.

Through the grant program, DSAMH will fund eligible providers to:

  • Implement new initiatives to strengthen active engagement and re-engagement and boost client retention in substance use disorder (SUD) services to improve safety and recovery outcomes (Tier 2). Tier 2 grants will be funded up to $100,000.
  • Implement innovative, evidence-based and high-impact SUD treatment and overdose prevention programming that targets underserved and high-risk populations (Tier 3). Tier 3 grants will be funded up to $500,000.

“We know that some of the best and most innovative responses to Delaware’s opioid crisis come from the providers who are closest to individuals and families impacted by this crisis,” said Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Molly Magarik. “We encourage providers of all sizes to review the requirements and apply for this important community funding.”

The grants are provided through DSAMH’s State Opioid Response (SOR) grant, funded by the U.S. Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA). For the first round of funding, grant applications are due on June 14, 2021, and funded projects may begin as early as July 1, 2021. Projects can vary in length, but the final deadline for completion will be September 2022.

Prospective applications also are encouraged to register to attend a virtual technical assistance webinar: 5-6 p.m. Tuesday, May 25; register here:
https://healthmanagement.zoom.us/meeting/register/tJAvd-yppj4sHdAlqZhKhXgQyQ_nwgRh1Hu_

The grant application is available on the DSAMH website:
https://www.dhss.delaware.gov/dhss/dsamh/startexp.html. Final applications can be emailed to DSAMH.ORT@delaware.gov

Providers who previously applied for Tier 1 funding to implement universal screening are eligible and encouraged to apply for these community grants.

In 2019, the Delaware Division of Forensic Science reported 431 overdose deaths in Delaware, an increase of almost 8% over 2018. The 2020 report has not been issued. Of the 431 total deaths in 2019, the Division reported that 341 (79%) involved fentanyl, a synthetic pain reliever that is 50-100 times more potent than morphine. The percentage of total cases in 2019 involving fentanyl was 5 percentage points higher than in 2018.

Delawareans who are suffering from substance use disorder can call DSAMH’s 24/7 Delaware Hope Line to be connected to treatment services at 1-833-9-HOPEDE or 1-833-946-7333. Or they can visit DHSS’ one-stop website, HelpIsHereDE.com.

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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.

 


DHSS, Other Agencies Seek to Connect Patients of Two Prescribers Associated with Md. Clinic to Continuing Treatment

NEW CASTLE (Feb. 5, 2021) –Two Maryland prescribers associated with a clinic in Denton, Maryland, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland surrendered their Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Registration for cause in early January. The associated prescribers to this practice are no longer able to prescribe controlled substances. Patients of this Eastern Shore practice, including Delaware residents, should seek alternatives for care.

Of the prescribers’ 300 now former patients, about 50% live in Delaware, mostly in Sussex County. To increase the opportunity for continuity of care for these patients, the Delaware Division of Public Health, the Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, the Delaware Division of Professional Regulation and the Office of Controlled Substances are coordinating efforts to notify hospital and community pharmacies, hospital emergency departments and treatment programs.

Delaware officials said the most effective way to provide the clinic’s former patients with guidance and referrals to other providers is through the patients’ primary care physicians. If that doesn’t occur, patients being treated over long periods of time for pain with opioids such as oxycodone, fentanyl, morphine and oxymorphone will need to access providers with expertise in treating and managing pain.

Delaware patients who are seeking referrals to physicians may contact the Delaware Hope Line at 1-833-9-HOPEDE (1-833-946-7333).

In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides a 24/7 National Helpline to provide referrals for treatment services at 1-800-662-4359.

While opioids serve a purpose in managing a patient’s pain, they belong to a family of prescription drugs, which can lead to addiction. Delaware is one of the top 20 states in opioid prescriptions per capita and currently has the nation’s highest prescription rate for high-dose opioids. Delaware also ranks in the top five states for most overdose deaths per capita.

In its annual report for 2019, the Delaware Division of Forensic Science reported 431 overdose deaths in Delaware, an increase of almost 8% over 2018. Of the 431 total deaths, the Division reported that 341 (79%) involved fentanyl, a synthetic pain reliever that is 50-100 times more potent than morphine. Many of those deaths involved fentanyl powder, fentanyl mixed with heroin, or counterfeit controlled substance pills containing fentanyl. The percentage of total overdose deaths in 2019 involving fentanyl was 5 percentage points higher than in 2018. A final report on overdose deaths for 2020 is not expected until April, but Delaware expects to see an increase in overdose deaths over the 2019 total.

Recognizing the importance of harm reduction, prevention, treatment and recovery, the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) launched www.HelpIsHereDE.com to offer resources to Delawareans and their loved ones suffering from substance use disorder (SUD). In 2020, DHSS also launched the 24/7 Delaware Hope Line at 1-833-9-HOPEDE (1-833-946-7333) to provide a connection to treatment for anyone suffering from substance use disorder, anxiety, depression, or any other behavioral health issue.

Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay urged Delawareans who are worried about the risk of overdose among family members or friends to obtain naloxone – a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose – through a new DPH mail-order service that can deliver Narcan to an eligible person’s home for free; at one of DSAMH’s Bridge Clinics in each of the three counties; through a participating pharmacy – where no prescription is required; or as part of a naloxone training session.

“Naloxone saves lives,” said Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “We also encourage Delawareans to download OpiRescue Delaware, a smartphone app that provides life-saving step-by-step instructions on how to respond to an overdose, including administration of naloxone.” To find the Bridge Clinic in your county, naloxone training or distribution events, or a participating pharmacy, go to HelpIsHereDE.com, and click on the overdose prevention tab.


First $700,000 in Opioid Impact Fee Funding Allocated for Treatment of Substance Use Disorder

DOVER – Revenue from a new opioid impact fee created by the Delaware General Assembly in 2019 will be used to prevent overdose deaths and provide new services to those seeking treatment for their substance use disorder, the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) and Sen. Stephanie Hansen announced Wednesday.

DHSS Secretary Molly Magarik this week detailed the department’s plan to spend the first $700,000 raised by the fee as of the third quarter of 2020, as required by Senate Bill 34.

Those funds will be used to bolster Delaware’s supply of naloxone, a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose; support the expansion of Bridge Clinic services to 24 hours a day in all three counties; and provide grants to people in treatment or recovery for such needs as transportation, housing, or education.

“As we work to reduce the spread of COVID-19, our state continues to respond to an opioid epidemic that is costing the lives of far too many Delawareans,” DHSS Secretary Molly Magarik said. “The opioid impact fee created by Sen. Stephanie Hansen last year is proving to be a powerful tool in that fight. These funds are helping us to expand our services and reach the people most in need of that support.”

Signed into law by Governor John Carney in June 2019, Delaware’s first-in-the-nation opioid impact fee requires some of the nation’s largest drug makers to address the costs of the opioid crisis they helped to create.

Manufacturers are now charged one penny for every morphine milligram equivalent (MME) of any brand-name opioid dispensed in Delaware and one-quarter of a cent for every MME of their generic opioids sold here. Companies that refuse to pay the fee can be charged a penalty of up to $100 a day or 10 percent of the total impact fee, whichever is greater.

Proceeds from the fee are then held in a special Prescription Opioid Impact Fund that can be used only for the prevention and treatment of opioid use disorder. According to the law, the fund is administered by DHSS with input from the Behavioral Health Consortium, the Addiction Action Committee, and the Overdose System of Care Committee.

“When we started down this road, we heard from countless naysayers who falsely claimed either that this legislation would hurt pharmacies, negatively impact consumers or fail to make a difference,” said Sen. Stephanie Hansen, the lead architect and driving force behind Senate Bill 34, along with House prime sponsor Rep. David Bentz. “Fears such as these prevent progress and have allowed this crisis to go on so long. This announcement today proves we can hold drug makers accountable. We can bring innovative, new tools to bear to confront addiction in our communities. And we can do more to break the cycle of abuse, addiction and death that has touched so many families in our state.”

Delaware is one of the top 20 states in opioid prescriptions per capita and currently leads the nation when it comes to the prescription rate for high-dose opioids. Delaware also ranks in the top five for most overdose deaths per capita. Every year since 2009, more Delawareans have died from drug overdoses than motor vehicle crashes, including 431 in 2019 alone – a record likely to be broken this year.

“The status quo simply will not suffice if we are going to get Delaware’s opioid crisis under control,” said Alexis Teitelbaum, acting director for the Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. “Revenue from the opioid impact fee will support our efforts to build out Delaware’s treatment infrastructure and continue our efforts to reach more people in new ways.”

Funds from the Opioid Impact Fee will be targeted for four main purposes in the coming year:

  • $300,000 will be combined with federal grant funding to help fill a critical gap in the existing system of care for people struggling with addiction issues. Interventions immediately following an overdose or other hospitalization present an effective opportunity to enroll patients in treatment programs. Currently, people discharged from the hospital are brought to a Bridge Clinic, located in each county, for screening and referrals to these programs. However, Bridge Clinics do not operate 24/7. DSAMH is currently working to address this issue through the addition of Stabilization Centers that can house and counsel clients during off-hours and weekends. Funding from the Opioid Impact Fee will help cover capital start-up costs, while the State Opioid Response federal grant will be used to fund programmatic and treatment expenses.
  • $250,000 will be used to help people struggling with addiction issues fill gaps in the social determinants that often present roadblocks in their efforts to enter, continue and complete the treatment and recovery process. These funds will provide DSAMH with the ability to assist clients with transportation costs and transitional housing while they seek treatment, as well as additional supports for people in recovery.   
  • $100,000 will be reserved to cover the Department of State’s administrative expenses associated with the collection of the fee.
  • $50,000 will be used to purchase 925 additional naloxone kits that DSAMH will make available to various community groups. Organizations can acquire these life-saving kits by contacting DSAMH. During the first three quarters of 2020, the Delaware Division of Public Health’s Office of Health Crisis Response distributed nearly 6,300 naloxone kits statewide through its community partners.

“There are no easy solutions when it comes to treating people struggling with substance use disorder,” said Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long, who chairs the Delaware Behavioral Health Consortium. “To be successful, we must take a truly holistic approach. This means supporting both the individual and their family as we attempt to remove the social determinant barriers that hinder an individual on a path to recovery,” she said. “The Opioid Impact Fee is helping Delaware to build that behavioral health system infrastructure. This legislation is doing more than just generating revenue. It will help us to save lives, rebuild families, and restore communities torn apart by addiction. Sen. Hansen, Rep. Bentz, the community advocates, and DHSS deserve a lot of credit for the plan being put forward today.”


DHSS’ Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health Launches Online Behavioral Health Treatment Referral Platform

NEW CASTLE (Sept. 17, 2020) – The Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) announced today the launch of a new online platform that allows Delawareans to find substance use disorder or mental health treatment services for themselves or a loved one.

DHSS’ Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) partnered with Appriss Health, a national technology company that provides solutions to health care entities and government agencies, to develop the online Behavioral Health Referral Portal for Delaware. The new application – which can be accessed through HelpisHereDE.com and directly through Treatment Connection (www.treatmentconnection.com) – enables those seeking mental health and substance use disorder (SUD) treatment services to anonymously search for nearby providers, evaluate the type of care needed, and submit confidential online referral inquiries to appropriate treatment providers vetted by DHSS.

Delawareans needing support for mental health and substance use disorder challenges will have self-service access to:

  • A self-assessment tool to help determine the most appropriate level of treatment.
  • A searchable list of trusted treatment services and providers by ZIP code and distance.
  • Educational materials.
  • Contact information for providers with current treatment capacity.
  • Confidential communications with treatment providers about next steps.

“This is critical access for Delaware families who have long sought a way to connect online with substance use disorder and mental health providers about confidential treatment services for loved ones,” DHSS Secretary Molly Magarik said. “In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic, having this virtual connection is even more important.”

“Time is of the essence. We must do everything we can for individuals and families seeking help when they need it. Our focus has been to close gaps in services and provide choices for individuals in addressing their recovery needs,” said Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long, who chairs the Behavioral Health Consortium. “This virtual referral platform provides another level of care coordination to ensure Delawareans have recovery options to support a stronger and healthier Delaware.”

“The ability for someone to know how to be connected to treatment improves equitable access to these critical services,” said Alexis Teitelbaum, DSAMH’s Acting Director. “This tool is a part of our efforts to ensure that when anyone needs help immediately, they can be seamlessly connected to a provider equipped with up-to-date information about caring for that person.”

Through August of this year, Delaware’s Division of Forensic Science has reported 256 deaths from suspected overdoses in Delaware, an increase of about 32% from the same period in 2019. In a study published in August, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) found elevated adverse mental health conditions associated with COVID-19 among U.S. adults. In the study, 31% of respondents reported symptoms of anxiety or depression, 26% reported symptoms of trauma or stressor-related disorder, 13% said they had started or increased substance use, and 11% reported having seriously considered suicide in the 30 days prior to the study.

In addition to the new online portal, Delawareans can seek behavioral health support for themselves or their loved ones by:

  • Calling DHSS’ 24/7 Delaware Hope Line at 1-833-9-HOPEDE (1-833-946-7333) and talking with a trained professional.
  • Visiting one of DSAMH’s Bridge Clinics in person. For an appointment, call the New Castle County clinic at 302-255-1650; for Kent County, call 302-857-5060; for Sussex County, call 302-515-3310.
  • Talking with their doctor or another trusted health care professional.

DSAMH will provide behavioral health providers statewide with marketing materials to promote the new online service.

About Appriss Health

Appriss Health provides trusted technology solutions to federal and state governments, payers, health systems, clinicians, pharmacies, and health information exchanges working to improve public health. In collaboration with state governments, Appriss built the nation’s most comprehensive, standards-driven data integration platform to combat the nation’s opioid epidemic. Appriss’ platform connects nearly all U.S. states, close to 1 million prescribers and half a million care team members, more than 30,000 pharmacies, and thousands of hospitals, managing more than 400 million daily transactions. It enables seamless in-workflow visibility to patients’ prescription drug history and a comprehensive solution that improves access to needed care for people with behavioral health conditions and social determinants of health challenges. Combined, Appriss’ data analytics solutions and bi-directional communication capabilities support whole-person care and rehabilitation for physical and behavioral health conditions and substance use disorders, improving health outcomes and reducing overall healthcare spending. For more information, please visit www.apprisshealth.com.


DHSS Sponsors Recovery Events to Raise Awareness of Support for People Living with Mental, Substance Use Disorders

NEW CASTLE (Sept. 2, 2020) – Recognizing September as National Recovery Month, Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Molly Magarik acknowledged the importance of meeting the needs of Delawareans with mental and substance use disorders, especially during the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The pandemic is difficult for all of us emotionally, but none more so than Delawareans struggling with addiction, mental illness or both,” Magarik said. “And with such public health measures as social distancing in place to reduce the spread of COVID-19, we know treatment referrals for individuals with behavioral health issues can be more difficult to access, their recovery plans can be altered, and the actual treatment and recovery supports can look very different than what people are used to receiving. Still, we know that prevention works, treatment is effective, and people do live a long, quality life in recovery. DHSS can provide Delawareans with the resources they need.”

Recovery Month is a national observance sponsored by the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) within the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The celebration raises awareness of mental and substance use disorders, celebrates individuals in long-term recovery, and acknowledges the work of prevention, treatment, and recovery support services.

To promote the widespread national observance, DHSS’s Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) is sponsoring Recovery Month events. These events support people in recovery and draw attention to critical prevention, treatment, and recovery support services in Delaware. The events, when scheduled, will be added to an online calendar here: https://bit.ly/3fiMnaI

Recognizing the benefit of having trained professionals available to listen and connect Delawareans to care, DSAMH is also promoting the new Delaware Hope Line. The Hope Line is a confidential phone line staffed by a diverse group of professionals dedicated to helping Delawareans cope with stress and meet their behavioral health needs during the coronavirus pandemic. Delawareans can call 1-833-9-HOPEDE (1-833-946-7333). This service is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Hope Line specialists provide a variety of resources and information, including behavioral health treatment options available, regardless of insurance or ability to pay.

“DSAMH is here to help Delawareans with behavioral health needs during these extraordinary times,” said Alexis Teitelbaum, DSAMH’s acting director. “Recovery Month offers a chance to celebrate with those in recovery and recognize the dedicated work of our behavioral health care providers throughout the state. There are resources available, and we want to ensure those who are suffering know that help is here.”

For more information, visit, www.HelpIsHereDE.com.