Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall Long and Dr. Sandra Gibney sat down with WDEL's Rick Jensen to discuss the state of the opioid epidemic in Delaware.
Lieutenant Governor Bethany Hall Long said the numbers that the state Behavioral Health Consortium are facing when it comes to fighting the opioid epidemic are daunting, but that progress is being made on all fronts.
"We have to realize that addiction is more than just the crisis that we face today with the opioid epidemic," said Long. "It's also a symptom of underlying conditions."
She added a plan is in place and that work is getting done to fight mental health issues, depression, and addiction..
"We're really optimistic, given that we've had the consortium come together," she added. "It's come together with 117 recommendations in a three-year action plan, recognizing that we would be getting into place steps and measures that work across agencies, filling in gaps and beginning to really put the boots on the ground. That's what we've done, and we feel really encouraged about that."
Dr. Sandra Gibney has been helping St. Francis Hospital and the lieutenant govertnor fight the First State's opioid epidemic, as an emergency room doctor.
She noted part of the long road, combating the problem, requires taking a serious look at the origins.
"As a physician, I own a piece of this," said Gibney. "Maybe five or six years ago, the joint commission looked at how we treated pain and how patients responded to our pain intervention. For us, pain was a big deal."
She added that the need for in-patient and alternative methods of recovery have come from a deeper look and research into the issue.
"If NSAIDs (nonsteroidal anti-inflammatory drugs) were not adequately treating the pain, we gave people opioids and in generous amounts. It was not only ER doctors, but surgeons, dentists...and folks in OBGYNs," she said. "We were very liberal about that--unknowingly, that we were creating a chemical addiction."