State officials are trying to put more eyes on Delaware’s addiction crisis.
Two bills expected to be introduced soon would establish two new state groups – one to streamline and coordinate the existing mental health system and another to oversee Delaware’s addiction problem.
The Behavioral Health Consortium would be made up of members from existing state commissions and working groups monitoring suicide and mental health.
“We want to help eliminate the stigma. Stigma is a big problem. So, whether you’re talking about stigma, workforce issues, co-occurring disability, prison re-entry, it’s all of those factors that we really want to address," said Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long (D).
Hall-Long would chair this new group. She says the goal is to try and avoid duplicating work, while coming up with ways to expand treatment options and increase addiction awareness.
Hall-Long says those meaningful changes shouldn’t take long to implement.
“I am not one who wants to wait six years for an outcome, either. Even though we’re going to have long-term goals that might be six years, 10 years, 15 years, Gov. Carney and myself, we’re hoping to make some positive change within that first six months or a year,” she said.
The group focused on opioid addiction would build on the work of an existing group. Last year, more than 300 people died from drug overdoses – up 35 percent from 2015.