Report outlines steps to address opioid use disorder

On Thursday, April 4, Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long joined members of Delaware’s Behavioral Health Consortium, community advocates and elected officials to accept recommendations from the Pew Charitable Trusts aimed at reforming Delaware’s addiction treatment system.

Pew Charitable Trusts has been working in partnership with the Behavioral Health Consortium, chaired by Hall-Long, to reshape Delaware’s behavioral health treatment system for those struggling with addiction to opioids. Delaware is one of only two states nationwide to partner with Pew over the last year, officials noted.

“Addressing Delaware’s opioid use disorder is a major step in making our state healthier and stronger,” said Hall-Long. “I’ve said all along that it is going to take all hands on deck in order to make an impact and begin saving lives. This report lays out a comprehensive set of specific steps Delaware can take to create a behavioral health system that works for everyone.

“I want to thank the Pew Charitable Trusts for partnering with the Behavioral Health Consortium to help us identify ways we can better deliver addiction treatment services for all Delawareans.”

Pew began work with the Behavioral Health Consortium in July of 2018 to help combat the opioid crisis as Delaware saw overdose deaths increase from 345 to 400 in 2018. Pew conducted a comprehensive needs assessment of Delaware’s treatment system by conducting interviews with state agency leaders, elected officials and stakeholders in order to identify gaps and develop strategic solutions and policies to create a more unified statewide continuum of care for those in need.

“Delaware has made great strides in addressing the opioid crisis, a complicated public health problem that demands multifaceted solutions,” said Beth Connolly, director of the Pew Charitable Trusts’ substance-use prevention and treatment initiative.

“It’s a problem that also requires commitment and collaboration from state leaders to get more Delawareans the evidence-based treatment they need. We are pleased to help further this crucial work in partnership with the Behavioral Health Consortium, Lt. Gov. Hall-Long, and the Delaware General Assembly.”

The final report contains eight recommendations focused on what officials said are considered the four key components of an effective treatment system: treatment system transformation that will allow individuals the appropriate treatment and access to quality care; coverage and reimbursement so that they can access care; a substance-use disorder workforce that can address treatment needs; and under-served populations and expansion of medically assisted treatment in our Corrections system.

“The recommendations confirm the path we are on in terms of strengthening our public treatment system across the state,” said Elizabeth Romero, director of the Division of Substance Abuse & Mental Health in the Department of Health & Social Services. “Pew Charitable Trusts has provided us with important insights into identifying the gaps we have in the treatment system, our workforce needs, and issues with coverage and reimbursement. We appreciate the partnership and leadership of Pew, the Behavioral Health Consortium and the lieutenant governor.”

The full report and recommendations can be viewed online at https://ltgov.delaware.gov/wp-content/uploads/sites/27/2019/04/Delaware-....