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The Behavioral Health Consortium approves funding to combat the opioid crisis

Quinn Kirkpatrick
Delaware Public Media

The Behavioral Health Consortium approves distributing $10 million to 38 organizations working to combat the state’s opioid crisis through harm reduction, treatment access, and education.

16 are statewide efforts, while 15 are focused in New Castle County, 3 in Kent County, and 4 in Sussex County.

Funding distribution is expected to begin 2 to 3 weeks after the organizations are briefed on their deliverables.

But Our Youth Inc, which is slated to receive $450,000 to build transitional housing in Wilmington, is on a different timeline.

A motion was made ahead of the vote to hold their funding until an investigation is completed by the Delaware Department of Justice and the Office of Budget and Management, and a they reach a concurrent decision.

The investigation was deemed necessary after questions arose surrounding the organization’s involvement in a 2022 caseof the mismanagement of federal funds for City of Wilmington housing projects.

Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long says this approach assures Our Youth Inc will not be disqualified based on the mistakes of another party.

“We’re not going to release the funds,” said Hall-Long. “We’re going to do the vote today, but that funding will not be released until a decision is made by concurrence of OMB and DOJ.”

Prescription Opioid Settlement Distribution Commission Executive Director Susan Watson Holloway says the commission can hold the money until a clearer determination can be made on whether or not they should receive the award.

“We have complete control. There’s no time frame where it has to be pushed out in 2 weeks or 2 months. We have full control of when the money gets disbursed.”

There is currently no set timeline for the investigation. The funding is from a pool of approximately $250 million in the Prescription Opioid Settlement Fund which is earmarked for addressing the state’s opioid crisis.

Phase 1B of Prescription Opioid Settlement Distribution Grant Awards is now complete. There is no set time for the next round of funding, but Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long says given the high need, they will be sure to get the ball rolling by this Fall.

Quinn Kirkpatrick was born and raised in Wilmington, Delaware and graduated of the University of Delaware. She joined Delaware Public Media in June 2021