Delaware County Heroin Task Force

continues its efforts

Heroin Task Force announces additional recovery specialists, new program and an unprecedented lawsuit


During its monthly meeting on Sept. 27, Delaware County Heroin Task Force co-chairs District Attorney Jack Whelan and Delaware County Councilman Dave White updated members on the progress, initiatives and areas of focus of the task force. Formed in Sept. 2012, the Task Force is comprised of government leaders, healthcare professionals, treatment providers, law enforcement, a realtor to address the theft of prescription drugs from medicine cabinets during open houses, a mother who lost her daughter to addiction and the founder of a recovery home who is in long-term recovery himself.

Among the key updates were the addition of three Certified Recovery Specialists, the announcement of Second Chance Employment, the county's lawsuit against 11 major drug suppliers of opioids and an update on the county's law enforcement Narcan program.

In April 2016 the Heroin Task Force and the Delaware County Office of Behavioral Health launched the CRS program, which connects overdose survivors with treatment. The Certified Recovery Specialists work with emergency rooms, police, crisis centers, physicians and families to reach people who recently survived an overdose. The free program offers treatment referrals, support services and information on insurance and treatment options. The CRS program began with two Recovery Specialists and a few months later a third was added.

In September, the county added three more specialists, bringing the total to six specialists who are available to residents, around the clock: 24-hours a day, 7-days a week. Since the program started the specialists have engaged and outreached to nearly 1,000 patients and hundreds of family members of friends. They are averaging about three calls a day. Residents can reach a CRS by calling: 610-497-7278.

On Sept. 19, the Delaware County Heroin Task Force announced a new program aimed at helping those in long term recovery. The Delaware County Heroin Task Force and partners including the Office of Workforce Development, EDSI, MVP Recovery and the Delaware County Chamber of Commerce launched "Second Chance Employment"- aimed at helping those in recovery find jobs.

"A vital piece to helping our residents succeed in long-term recovery is having a job which provides stability and accountability and allows them to reenter the community as responsible and contributing members of society," said Councilman Dave White. "We need to keep these men and women on the road towards long-term recovery. It's good for them, it's good for our community and it's good for all of society."

The pilot program is targeted towards women currently in treatment at MVP Recovery. EDSI, contracted through Delaware County's Office of Workforce Development will go to MVP Recovery and assist the women with resume writing, career counseling and interviewing skills. Having the training on location allows for a safer sober environment and transportation is also a challenge for many of the MVP residents. In addition to career counseling EDSI will assist with employment opportunities, interviews and job placement.

The Delaware County Chamber of Commerce's partnership includes educating its members and the business community about the need and also the benefits of hiring a person in the recovery. The Chamber will meet with the business community and hold presentations to highlight the great need to employ those in long term recovery. Businesses interested in learning more about Second Chance Employment can contact EDSI staff member Laura Zales: 610-876-4855.

On September 21, 2017 Delaware County became the first county in the state to sue for damages against 11 major drug suppliers of opioids and their consulting physicians, who have for decades conspired to deceitfully promote and market "the benefits of using opioids to treat chronic pain." Trial attorney Robert J. Mongeluzzi, of Saltz Mongeluzzi Barrett & Bendesky, P.C. filed the lawsuit (Delaware County Court of Common Pleas, Docket No. 17-8095) on behalf of the county.

"The county has spent money trying to treat and save residents addicted to opioids and we have met with hundreds of residents who are desperately trying to get their loved ones into recovery or who have had to bury a loved one," said District Attorney Jack Whelan. "This lawsuit is our way of fighting for them."

During the meeting the Task Force also updated members on the number of lives saved across the county by police officers administering Narcan. When David's Law was passed in 2014, the District Attorney's Office partnered with police chiefs to develop a county-wide naloxone program for police officers, this program was funded by Delaware County Council.

In November 2014 every police officer in the county was equipped with naloxone. To date police officers across Delaware County have saved 883 lives with the use of naloxone. The Delaware County naloxone program has since become a model program for police departments across the state and our Heroin Task Force continues to work daily to continue to combat this epidemic.




Delco Heroin Task announces additional recovery specialists, new program and unprecedented lawsuit

During its monthly meeting on Sept. 27 Delaware County Heroin Task Force co-chairs District Attorney Jack Whelan and Delaware County Councilman Dave White updated members on the progress, initiatives and areas of focus of the task force. Among the key updates were the addition of three Certified Recovery Specialists, the announcement of Second Chance Employment, the county's lawsuit against 11 major drug suppliers of opioids and an update on the law enforcement Narcan program. Since the program began in 2014 police officers across Delaware County have saved 883 lives with the use of naloxone. Formed in Sept. 2012, the Task Force is comprised of government leaders, healthcare professionals, treatment providers, law enforcement, a realtor to address the theft of prescription drugs from medicine cabinets during open houses, a mother who lost her daughter to addiction and the founder of a recovery home who is in long-term recovery himself.