Governor Carney Signs legislation forming two new Delaware health groups
Georgetown, Del. – On Wednesday, at the site of the future SUN Behavioral Health Hospital, Gov. John Carney signed into law Senate Bill 111 and House Bill 220 – bipartisan legislation aimed at curbing the addiction epidemic Delaware faces and improving resources for those struggling with mental illness.
Senate Bill 111 creates the Behavioral Health Consortium; an advisory body comprised of community advocates, law enforcement, healthcare professionals, and state leaders that will assess and outline an integrated plan for action to address prevention, treatment, and recovery for mental health, substance use, and co-occurring disorders.
House Bill 220 creates the Addiction Action Committee and has the specific charge of making recommendations on a strategic approach to address and monitor the addiction crisis.
The two pieces of legislation were sponsored by Senator Bryan Townsend and Representative David Bentz and passed the General Assembly with unanimous support. Lt. Governor Hall-Long has been the leading force behind the two pieces of legislation and has been tapped by Governor Carney to Chair the Consortium and lead Delaware’s efforts on improving behavioral health services. The creation of the consortium and coordinated plan is a recommendation of Governor Carney’s Action Plan For Delaware.
“Delaware families are affected every day by the disease of addiction,” said Carney. “These new laws will help us develop short-term and long-term strategies to combat our addiction crisis, and more effectively coordinate treatment and prevention services.”
In 2016, Delaware had over 300 opioid deaths, which is a 35 percent increase from the previous year. This year, Delaware has experienced 133 overdose deaths. Many from the service provider community recognize the need for swift action.
The Consortium and Committee will bring together a diverse group of stakeholders, including provider, advocates, and critical governmental agencies to conduct the work. The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services have already launched a website and resources to help individuals struggling with addiction at www.HelpIsHereDE.com.