Delaware Public Media

Behavioral Health Consortium to partner with Pew Charitable Trusts

Jul 24, 2018

The state’s Behavioral Health Consortium is getting an assist from the Pew Charitable Trusts as it works to battle the opioid crisis locally.

Delaware is one of just two states nationwide the Pew Charitable Trusts will partner with on this issue this year.  

Abby Walsh of Pew’s Substance Use Prevention and Treatment Initiative says Pew staff members will thoroughly assess the state’s substance abuse disorder treatment system. They’ll then work with state officials to develop recommendations, and stick around to help as those recommendations start being implemented.

The partnership will last one year.

Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long, who chairs the Behavioral Health Consortium, hopes the partnership will help Delaware become a model for other states in treating addiction and mental illness.

“We have a roadmap in place, and partnering with Pew will allow us to implement that roadmap sooner, and will give us really solid data and policy direction,” she said.

During the partnership’s first stakeholder meeting Tuesday, Pew’s Jerin Philip noted Delaware’s recent efforts to combat the opioid epidemic are what attracted the Trusts.

“The low-hanging fruit here in Delaware is actually higher than nationwide, because this state has done quite a bit of work already. And so a lot of the way we’ll be plugging in will have to be a little more technically sophisticated,” he said.

Philip says the trust’s lead researcher on the partnership has already connected with researchers at the University of Delaware. Pew has specific expertise in medication-assisted treatment.

Pew will also provide the Behavioral Health Consortium access to a communications team, and financial analysis through the RAND Corporation.

Last year, the Pew Charitable Trusts worked to help Wisconsin and Indiana to improve their substance use disorder treatment systems.

A Johns Hopkins study of Delaware’s system for treating opioid use disorder was also presented at Tuesday’s meeting of the Behavioral Health Consortium.

The Consortium itself presented a three-year action plan to Gov. Carney in May, following a series of community listening forums.