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Delaware part of White House plan to fight opioid addiction and trafficking

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Anne Hoffman/Delaware Public Media
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A new White House initiative to fight addiction and drug trafficking will directly affect the First State. Monday, National Drug Control Policy Director Michael Botticelli was at Christiana Hospital in Newark to discuss a portion of the $13.4 million plan.

To understand how Delaware's involvement, it's important to understand HIDTAs, or High Intensity Drug Trafficking Areas. New Castle County was added to the Philadelphia/Camden HIDTA in January. That HIDTA, along with four others, will receive $2.5 million in federal funds to combat the flow of heroin. The HIDTAs, which stretch from DC to Maine, will share real time information with each other about how to disrupt heroin movement, and when dangerously bad batches are moving throughout the area.

State Secretary of Health and Social Services Rita Landgraf welcomes the plan’s approach to the issue.

It’s that alignment in an official capacity between public health and then law enforcement and again, what Director Botticelli was alluding to too is drug trafficking doesn’t stay within one state’s jurisdiction," said Landgraf.

Earlier this month, state officials unveiled their strategy to reduce Delaware’s high overdose and opioid addiction rate. Attorney General Matt Denn says that strategy and this new federal initiative both move toward attacking the issue as a public health problem.

"We’re not going to be able to arrest our way out of this problem.  And as long as there is a demand for heroin, then they are going to be people selling it. So we can arrest as many heroin dealers as resources will allow, and new ones will take their place if we’re not dealing with the demand side as well," Denn said.

 

The state’s plan calls for all high school students to receive 15 hours of mandatory drug education before graduating, and school nurses must know how to administer a drug called naloxone, which reverses the effects of an overdose. Three First State police departments are also equipped with the drug.

Earlier this year, state lawmakers allocated $4.4 million for treatment and recovery services.

Landgraf says the new federal plan announced yesterday complements the state’s plans and should help efforts to draw additional awareness and funding to what she calls a heroin “epidemic.”

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