Delaware’s Behavioral Health Consortium met for the first time last week to work on combating the opioid crisis in the state. The committee is comprised of state officials, health professionals and community advocates.
Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall-Long is chair of the consortium.
“The goal of the consortium itself is to really address and offer prevention, education, interdiction and expanded treatment in the state of Delaware for behavioral health,” said Hall-Long.
The consortium was formed this year with the passage of Senate Bill 111. Hall-Long says the group is addressing the broader issues surrounding mental health in the state, but has the specific goal of reducing the amount of opioid induced overdose deaths.
“Obviously we’re really worried about the number of Delawareans losing their lives—it is much higher now than car crashes. Every other day we lose a Delawarean to an opioid, fentanyl, heroin overdose,” said Hall-Long.
Hall-Long adds the Behavioral Health Consortium is modeled after Delaware’s Cancer Treatment Consortium which helped drop the state’s rate of cancer deaths in the early 2000s by establishing neighborhood committees.
“We will be in the community establishing working committees and taking those committees and establishing very clear, measurable goals—action items—some that will take additional resources and some that won’t take additional resources,” said Hall-Long.