While many experts believe involuntary treatment can be effective in dealing with the heroin and opioid crisis in Delaware, there are no surefire answers on how to execute a plan.

"We need every tool in our toolbox to address this epidemic and prevent overdose deaths," said Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Secretary of the State Department of Health and Social Services.

Odom Walker supports involuntary treatment, but she said the state can't just deploy the strategy without having regulations, a certification process, observation of how the treatment system would respond.

Attorney General Matt Denn identified other issues.

"The big challenge that other states have faced and not really overcome yet-- and that we really have to deal with--is coming up with a facility where you're actually going to have good outcomes if people were committed there involuntarily," said Denn. "But I think it is something we should be working towards."

Kim Jones, is a counselor at Gaudenzia in recovery from heroin and drug addiction, and she said her recovery was born out of involuntary treatment.

"I think in my case, in a way, I actually did go through involuntary treatment, because my treatment was in the federal prison system, so it was certainly effective for me."

Jones believes involuntary treatment can work and so does Denn, but he said sending innocent people to prison isn't the answer.

"I think generally speaking prisons aren't an ideal location for involuntary treatment for somebody who hasn't committed a crime," said Denn. "The other types of secure facilities the state currently has aren't really amendable to it either."

Dr. Andrew Kolodny, Physicians for Responsible Opioid Prescribing and Heller School for Social Policy and Management at Brandeis University, said more beds aren't necessarily needed throughout the country to treat the issue.

He stressed that it's better that someone recovering from a medical problem get better without medication so they don't get "stuck" on a drug.

Odom Walker said more access to outpatient therapy is needed in Delaware.

Other speakers at Monday night's forum at John Dickinson High School included Dr. Sandra Gibney, emergency room doctor and associate chairman of Emergency Services at Saint Francis Healthcare, Dr. Terry Horton, chief of addiction medicine at Christiana Care Health System.

News Reporter and Anchor at WDEL.