Delaware Launches START Initiative to Combat Substance Use Disor - WBOC-TV 16, Delmarvas News Leader, FOX 21 -

Delaware Launches START Initiative to Combat Substance Use Disorders

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SUSSEX COUNTY, Del.- Delaware's Department of Health and Social Services on Wednesday launched its START Initiative, a program that helps create a framework that measures substance use disorder clients' outcomes. The START Initiative joins the new online treatment referral system announced last week.

"These are important steps forward in meeting the immediate needs of people suffering from addiction in our state," Gov. John Carney said. "When I was running for governor, I heard from many Delawareans about the problems their loved ones had in accessing treatment. With the new online treatment referral dashboard and peers in emergency rooms and at other contact points, we will engage people in getting the connection to treatment that they need and also be the support they can turn to in order to remain connected to treatment."

DHSS claims that in the first year, START--which stands for Substance Use Treatment and Recovery Transformation-- will treat more than 900 new clients as they use certified recovery peers in the medical and emergency fields, as well as family members. According to DHSS, those peers will help addicts find housing, transportation, employment and more. 

David Baugh with the B.R.I.D.G.E.S. Coalition says grassroots organizations like his will greatly benefit from the START Initiative.

"We see it every single day and we know what it's going to take--the funds that are needed," he says. "To see the START program, it shows that we are being heard."

B.R.I.D.G.E.S. recently became the Delaware Chapter of the Addiction Policy Forum, a nationwide policy writing program.

"We are helping to hopefully write policy and lobby for policy at the national and state level," he says. "With this START program happening it's neat to see this all taking place."

Baugh says their role in the Addiction Policy Forum may help convey the START Initiative's goals to a wider audience. 

"We can see what's going on in Delaware and help on a national level relay how the addiction epidemic is going in our state," Baugh explains.

According to DHSS, Brandywine Counseling & Community Services and Connections Community Support Programs received contracts from the state as part of the START Initiative. DHSS says that means the two organizations can provide clients with every level of treatments and services, including all three FDA-approved forms of medication-assisted treatment. DHSS says they'll add more treatment providers this fall and also awarded a separate contract to Recovery Innovations International to help navigate individuals into treatment and to maintain their connection to that care.

"Our goal is to offer care to individuals suffering from opioid addiction that is high-quality, comprehensive, coordinated, evidence-based and person-centered," says DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Walker. "The treatment hubs will care not only for the individual's treatment needs, but also navigate the social determinants of health that often matter more in achieving overall health and positive treatment outcomes."

The state says START has received $2 million in federal funding. For more facts and figures about the new initiative, click here

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