Delaware has begun to distribute hundreds of thousands of dollars collected through an opioid impact fee that the state began to charge makers of opioids that are sold in Delaware under a law that was signed in June 2019.
$700-thousand have now been allocated to several programs that help people who struggle with addiction issues and for services and programs that assist in the treatment and recovery process. Also, some money goes toward the purchase of 925 more naloxone kits that contain overdose-reversing medication.
“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,” Delaware Health and Social Services 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.”
“There are no easy solutions when it comes to treating people struggling with substance use disorder,” Lieutenant Governor and Chair of the Delaware Behavioral Health Consortium Bethany Hall-Long said. “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 released these proposals for utilization of the opioid impact fee in the near future:
- $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.