DPH Steps Up Fight Against Opioid Abuse in Foodservice

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DELAWARE– The Delaware Division of Public Health is stepping up its efforts in the fight against opioid abuse and drug overdoses, but this time it is focusing on the restaurant industry.

“When we spoke with some restaurant managers and owners, they recognized that it was a problem for them and they asked for information, they asked for tools and they asked for help,” said Kate Brookins. , public health administrator at the DPH.

And now they get information, tools and support in the form of the Restaurant Accolade program. The program trains and educates restaurant industry personnel on how to reverse an opioid overdose and also supports colleagues with substance abuse disorders.

“Some awards, some certificates, some recognition, ongoing support and a direct link to our office where we can send a team to help train additional employees, to help provide information,” Brookins said.

The Division of Public Health said that in a 2017 study examining drug overdoses, it found that 10% of Delawares who died from them were employed by the food industry. This is something that comes as no surprise to Warren Rosenfeld, owner of Rosenfeld’s Jewish Deli.

“The people we’ve applied for certain positions often appear to be struggling people,” Rosenfeld said.

Rosenfeld said he has a former cook who died of an overdose and would appreciate any resources available to protect his employees.

“So anything the state can do to help us with symptoms, anything the state can do to help us once the overdose is in effect will be extremely helpful to our business and to ourselves,” he said. said Rosenfeld.

And Rich Garrahan, Managing Member of La Vita Hospitality, agrees. He said the restaurant industry is like a big family and he wants to be there for his team, especially when needed.

“Like many people and their own families, when you try to help a family member who is dealing with addiction or a mental health issue, you feel pretty helpless and helpless,” Garrahan said.

The program may be fairly new, but several restaurants across the state have already signed up, and many more are ready to get involved.

“I hope other hospitality industries like ours will adopt it,” Garrahan

The Public Health Division said it delayed the launch of this program last year due to the pandemic, but now is the time to spread this education.

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