Opioid addiction programs receive grant support from Highmark Delaware

They are on the front lines of Delaware's addiction crisis: saving lives, locating and finding treatment, and trying to prevent addiction in the first place. 

Some of the financial costs of what they do are offset by a grant announced Monday in Wilmington.

"Highmark Delaware is pleased to announce we are partnering with four prominent community organizations on initiatives and programs designed to address the opioid epidemic here in Delaware," Highmark Delaware President Tim Constantine said.

"This crisis is completely devastating to our state, and to our nation," Delaware Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay said. "To reduce the impact, it is critical that we work in concert with providers, insurers, nonprofit leaders, educators, advocates, the faith community and families."

The funds come from Highmark's BluePrimts for the Community initiative, which was started in 2007 to address issues that face the state's uninsured and underserved populations. 

The grants are allocated as follows:

  • $50,000 goes to atTAck Addiction to fill an emergency need for naloxone, the medication used by first responders to reverse the effects of an overdose. Naloxone was administered more than 2,700 times in Delaware during 2017.
  • Boys and girls Clubs of Delaware gets $100,000 for continuation of its Strategic Prevention Framework - Partnership for Success programs that focus on preventing underage drinking and drug abuse. 
  • Gaudenzia Inc.'s plan to build a new residential treatment facility in Claymont and develop outpatient services will be backed by a $75,000 grant.
  • The Sussex County Health Coalition's efforts to develop a comprehensive plan to address the Seaford area's opioid epidemic receives a grant of $100,000.

"As the greatest public health crisis of the 21st century continues to grow, greater access to naloxone will save more lives," atTAcK addiction board member David Humes said. "Many of those who have lost loved ones understand that reviving our fellow Delawareans provides them with a second chance at life and the opportunity to connect to treatment services. First save the life. Where there is life, there is hope."

"Once you recognize the issue, you stay focused and you stay away from the relapse, I think treatment works," Gaudenzia Chief Operating Officer Perry Patel said.

Addiction-related services and guidance are available at Delaware's one-stop website, www.helpisherede.com

Reporter - Anchor

Mark Fowser is a veteran journalist in Delaware.