Delaware, other states share strategies for overcoming addiction crisis

Dr. Linda Lang and Erin Booker speak at Tuesday's Addiction Medicine Workshop at Wilmington Hospital

The opioid epidemic is hitting some states harder than others. Delaware, despite its challenges, also has offered solutions that drew the interest of health care professionals from other states at an Addiction Medicine Workshop in Wilmington.

Christiana Care Health System is starting to get national recognition for its program known as Project Engage. It involves early intervention to reach out to hospital patients with substance use disorders right at their bedsides.

Marshall University of West Virginia Addiction Services Director Bob Hansen came away impressed with the approach of "meeting people right at bedside to talk to them about treatment options, building a rapport." West Virginia has one of the nation's worst addiction problems. In fact, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention found that West Virginia had the highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the nation.

"It's a complex solution," Hansen said.

Christiana Care's withdrawal clinic pathway is also show promise, according to Psychiatry Department chair Linda Lang MD, who is physician leader of Christiana Care's Behavioral Health Service Line.

"We initiate withdrawal protocol using medication and make them comfortable, help them ease through any symptoms of withdrawal so they can stay and receive treatment for other issues they've come in for," Lang said.

According to Lang, two-thirds of substance use patients followed up with additional treatment after leaving the hospital.

Reporter - Anchor

Mark Fowser is a veteran journalist in Delaware.