Delaware Behavioral Health Consortium awards funds for fighting the opioid epidemic.
The opioid crisis in Delaware is a major problem, with overdose deaths continuing to rise much the same as in other areas of the U.S. In 2021, there were 513 overdose deaths in the state, putting it among the top ten states for opioid-related fatalities in the nation. In order to combat this issue, the Delaware Behavioral Health Consortium has approved a total of $10 million in crisis funding to support 38 organizations working to combat it. The funding will be used for the expansion of various programs, including harm reduction, recovery support, treatment, prevention, and sensitization campaigns.
The consortium selected the 38 organizations based on their proposals for how they would use the funding to address the crisis. The consortium also scrutinized all the applications submitted by the organizations seeking funding and only selected those that met all the necessary requirements. These requirements included owning a business license, filling out the grant application correctly, and providing all the necessary information.
The funding is part of a larger initiative to tackle the opioid crisis in Delaware. The Delaware Prescription Opioid Settlement Distribution Commission is also in the process of distributing $250 million in settlement funds to support opioid prevention and treatment programs.
The $10 million will be used to support various programs, including:
- Harm reduction: This includes programs that provide access to naloxone (a medication that can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose), clean needles, and other harm reduction tools.
- Recovery support: This includes programs that help people recover from opioid addiction, such as counseling and other psychosocial support.
- Treatment: This includes options that help people find and get treatment for opioid addiction. Some strategies include medication-assisted treatment (MAT), counseling, and other interventions.
- Awareness campaigns: This includes programs that sensitize the public about the dangers of opioids and how to avoid addiction.
Sixteen of the 38 grants awarded went towards organizations focused on statewide efforts to combat the opioid crisis, totaling roughly $4.16 million. Meanwhile, the rest of the funding went towards organizations focused on county-specific initiatives to battle the crisis. This included 15 organizations in New Castle Country, four in Sussex County, and three in Kent County.
The largest grant went to the Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) to fund its Prescription Opioid Impact Fee scholarship program, which helps residents of Delaware recovering from addiction pay for essentials like food, transportation, and health care.
The second largest grant, totaling $500,000, was awarded to an organization focused on combating the crisis in Kent County by expanding Code Purple in the area.
Most of the funding came from out-of-court settlements with major opioid drugmakers and pharmacy chains like Purdue Pharma, Teva, and Walgreens for their misleading marketing and over-prescription of opioid drugs, which experts deem the leading cause of the opioid crisis.
While the organizations that applied for funding wanted more than $21.2 million, it’s hoped that the $10 million received will go a long way in helping to save lives and help people recovering from addiction.