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Bill seeks to standardize overdose care in First State

Delaware Public Media

Representatives from the state’s Behavioral Health Consortium are introducing legislation to create the first-ever standardized system of care for overdoses.

The bill would implement an overdose system of care, setting protocol for EMS and Emergency Rooms across the state on how to best connect overdose patients to addiction treatment. It also gives authority to the Secretary of Health and Social Services to designate health care facilities that adhere to the requirements outlined in that system.

Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long testified in favor of the measure before the House Health and Human Development Committee earlier this week.

“We heard from law enforcement or first responders who’ve been up to as much as 14 times to a single person’s home where they’ve used Narcan, but whether it’s the 14th or the first time that someone has had an overdose it’s critical that we get them into this system of care,” said Hall-Long.

The Department of Public Health and all seven Delaware hospitals have coordinated on setting the parameters for the system of care. Hall-Long says Delaware’s size gives it a unique opportunity to organize efforts between its different health systems.

“So Delaware is a small state we know that for sure. So we have the opportunity to be the launchpad for the nation for a model of care,” she said.

The bill—sponsored by Democratic State Rep. David Bentz—would also create a committee to oversee the new overdose care system.

It cleared a committee this week and heads to the House floor for a vote.

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