Delaware Health Cuts Hurt the Neediest; Reduce Funding for Syringe Exchange and other DHSS Programs

Public health officials and advocates fear looming budget cuts to public health programs could undermine the state's battles against poverty, drug addiction and preventable diseases, according to a June 7, 2017 news article on Delaware Online.


Last week, the Joint Finance Committee approved 20 percent reductions to a number of public health programs. In all, the finance committee has approved $2.3 million in cuts to the Department of Health and Social Services.


Among the programs slated to lose 20 percent is the state's needle exchange program (Syringe Services Program), which allows drug users to turn in old syringes and get new, clean ones. The goal is to limit the spread of communicable diseases.


"It's reducing the rate of HIV and hepatitis in the state of Delaware and that reduces overall health care costs," said Dr. Lynn Fahey, CEO of Brandywine Counseling and Community Services, which administers the program. "It has a rippling effect."


Dr. Fahey said the needle exchange is about more than stopping the spread of disease. It is also a way to get people referred for treatment and social services that can help end the cycle of addiction.


"We're in a time of the worst opioid crisis the country's ever seen, and to reduce a program that can provide all these benefits, it could potentially increase the number of overdoses," Fahey said. "It's counterproductive to all the goals we have for health care."

Read the complete article on Delaware Online.

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Wednesday, June 7, 2017 - 08:15

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