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DHSS seeks funding in FY 2020 for more sober living beds

The grand opening of The Refuge, a state-funded substance center in Bear on Feb. 15th.

The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services wants additional money for addiction treatment beds in next year’s budget.

Gov. John Carney’s recommended budget for Fiscal Year 2020 gives the Division for Substance Abuse and Mental Health $115 million - a more than 3.5 million dollar increase over 2019.

About $1.8 million is new funding for behavioral health and substance abuse treatment, up from $1.4 million this year. Some of that is earmarked for creating 50 more sober living beds in inpatient residential facilities.

The division’s Director Elizabeth Romero says the First State has enough detox and inpatient treatment bed. But there’s a shortage of sober living beds. She said that’s why they’re adding beds in the highly structured homes.

“That is where we see the greatest waitlists occur," she said. "So what we were trying to do is break up the logjam and make sure that there was a place for people to go and be where they needed to be to recover as long as they can in a home that has treatment in it.”

About $800,000 in the budget will pay for the additional sober living beds. One home will hold 30 beds for men and the other will have 20 beds for women.

But State Sen. Dave Lawson said he’s not sure the help is getting to those who really need it. The Marydel Republican thinks most of it goes to presentations or task forces instead of to services.

“It’s time we start looking at those who need help, not how we can put committees together to slow things down and screw them up,” he said.

Lawson said he gets frequent calls from Delawareans from his district looking for treatment.

An October 2018 report by former Attorney General Matt Denn called for creating more sober living beds and raising reimbursement rates for those facilities. It also recommended creating inpatient treatment programs designed to last longer than 30 days.

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