Delaware partners with Pew to improve addiction treatment

Delaware's Behavioral Health Consortium announces a partnership with Pew Charitable Trusts to improve access to addiction treatment in the state. (Zoe Read/WHYY)

Delaware's Behavioral Health Consortium announces a partnership with Pew Charitable Trusts to improve access to addiction treatment in the state. (Zoe Read/WHYY)

Delaware is one of two states selected to partner with the Pew Charitable Trusts to focus on improving Delaware’s behavioral health system.

The nonprofit and research policy organization will conduct interviews with stakeholders to understand the barriers and gaps in the state’s treatment system, and what can be done to improve access to care.

The organization, which also is partnering with Louisiana, will work with Delaware’s newly formed Behavioral Health Consortium to help enact some of its 114 recommendations outlined in a three-year action plan.

The consortium was a recommendation of Gov. John Carney’s Action Plan for Delaware to address the opioid crisis in the state — where 345 people died of overdoses last year. The group consists of health officials, law enforcement, state leaders and advocates.

“What we look for in a partnership is an opportunity to build on momentum, and that’s certainly what we saw here in Delaware,” said Abby Walsh of Pew.

“Over the last few years we’ve seen tremendous progress here, and it seemed we could dedicate our efforts in a unique way to catalyze the great work already going on here to innovate and put research and evidence into practice.”

Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long, D-Delaware, who chairs the consortium, said she hopes the consortium’s recommendations will be enacted more efficiently with the help of Pew.

“We actively said to Pew, ‘Come look at Delaware, because with your expertise I’m convinced at least in some lane we will come up with a model, because we have the perfect demography,’” she said.

“We’re really hopeful you could help us as we hone in on our data component, our evidence base, to make a difference in peoples’ lives — the parent who calls me in the middle of the night or the grandmom who can’t get placement in treatment. Pew will help us look at the expertise and help us navigate the insurance challenges we face in the private sector, as well as public.”

The cooperative effort is already underway. Pew hopes to update progress by the end of the year.

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