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Outgoing Attorney General makes recommendations on opioid crisis

Anne Hoffman/Delaware Public Media

As Matt Denn wraps up his time as Delaware Attorney General, he’s making recommendations on how the state should continue its fight against the misuse of opioids.

In the Delaware Department of Justice’s (DOJ) fourth annual update on substance abuse disorder in Delaware, Denn highlights some of the success already realized from state efforts.

In the report, he touts an 18% reduction in the number of opioid prescriptions in Delaware in the first quarter of 2018 compared to the same time the year before.

He also points to the sentencing of high-level drug dealers in the state and pending litigation DOJ filed against the pharmaceutical industry.

The report also references DOJ’s role in getting more police departments in Delaware to carry Naloxone.

Now 31 of 49 First State Police Departments carry the opioid overdose antidote through a program funded by the Department of Health and Social Services. And Denn encourages the departments not participating to join that program.

“We would like for every police department to be carrying naloxone,” said Denn. “That’s a judgement that each individual department needs to make for itself, but the ideal circumstance from our perspective would be for every department to be carrying it.”

Denn also commends Delaware’s new START program which expands the use of peer mentors and availability of medication-assisted treatment, calling it an improvement over the status quo.

But he adds the state has not invested enough funds into adding long-term inpatient treatment and more sober living facilities.

“There’s some critical work that remains undone when it comes to providing opportunities for sober living and long-term residential treatment for individuals who need that,” said Denn. “Those things are not exclusive and ought to be complementary.”

Denn is also calling for the involuntary treatment for people with substance abuse disorder who are at risk of self-harm and he supports the state opening a recovery high school for students with substance abuse disorder.

223 people have died in Delaware this year from suspected drug overdoses.

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