The Addiction Action Committee (AAC) relaunched on October 4, with two new co- chairs named by the new Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary, Josette Manning. Co-Chairs Dr. Rebecca Walker (Deputy Director of the Division of Public Health) and Joanna Champney (Director of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health) convened the membership for the relaunch. Established under Title 16 of the Delaware Code, the purpose of the AAC is to develop and monitor a coordinated and comprehensive approach to Delaware’s addiction epidemic.
The AAC recommends and encourages comprehensive prevention, treatment, surveillance and monitoring strategies to evaluate and curtail the addiction epidemic in Delaware and will help to promote quality and accessible pain management for Delawareans.
Voting members and public participants engaged in a robust discussion about subcommittees to be established to address pressing issues around addiction in Delaware. Committees will include: Patient Centered Care, Harm Reduction, Addiction Treatment Services Subcommittee, Special Populations, Rural Health, and Primary Prevention. There was special interest in ensuring that youth issues around substance use and the needs of marginalized and minoritized populations should be considered by the workgroups. The Division of Prevention and Behavioral Health at the Department of Services for Children, Youth, and their Families briefly highlighted the absence of youth treatment services in Delaware and discussed a forthcoming report on youth treatment provider capacity in Delaware. The importance of non-opioid pain management strategies was also discussed, as well as the need for more primary prevention and harm reduction activities.
The meeting included a presentation from the Department of State, which included a multi-year analysis by the Division of Professional Regulation of the number of clinical professionals licensed in the state of Delaware who may be involved in the care of individuals with substance use disorders. The largest increase by provider type was in nursing. Information about the annual number of controlled substance prescriptions issued by Delaware prescribers was also reviewed. The Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) monitors prescribing patterns and determines if increases warrant further investigation by the Department of Justice. The committee discussed that the data often needs interpretive knowledge, because some substances are not eligible for monthly prescription refills and this can make prescription rates appear artificially high.
Members of the public are invited to attend future AAC meetings (meetings are quarterly and are listed on the state’s public meeting calendar) and may also join a subcommittee. To receive meeting notices electronically and/or to participate in a subcommittee, please email email@example.com.