For leading Christiana Care Health System in a comprehensive approach to preventing addiction and supporting recovery, Janice E. Nevin, M.D., MPH, Christiana Care Health System president and CEO, was recognized with the Amethyst Ball Humanitarian Award from Limen House on Nov. 10 at Greenville Country Club in Wilmington.
“I am deeply grateful to receive this honor from the Limen House, which has served our state as a pioneer in addiction recovery,” said Dr. Nevin. “Christiana Care is fortunate to partner with the Limen House as we serve together to connect our neighbors with the support they need to break the cycle of addiction. When all other doors appear to be shut tight, a light shines here at the Limen House and the door is always open.”
Established in 1969 and located in Wilmington, the Limen House is a sober living residence for people recovering from alcoholism and drug dependency.
Every day, more than 115 Americans die after overdosing on opioids, according to the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse. New Castle County reports that the number of emergency department visits due to overdoses more than doubled in the county in the last year.
“With Dr. Nevin’s leadership, Christiana Care is taking a 360-degree approach to innovative methods to prevent and address addiction, which is the epidemic of our time,” said Michael Duffy, executive director of the Limen House. “Dr. Nevin is bringing Delawareans to the threshold of recovery with evidence-based care, with empathy and with partnerships throughout our community.”
Central to Christiana Care’s comprehensive approach to preventing and treating addiction is Project Engage, a novel early intervention program. Project Engage embeds engagement specialists — specially trained peers in recovery — in the hospital to reach substance-addicted patients when they most need help, providing a pathway to treatment. Some of those engagement specialists are Limen House alumni, and the Limen House treats patients who come in through Project Engage.
Project Engage has drawn national attention, including from the White House and Congress, for its innovative approach and success in reducing health care costs and utilization by reducing emergency department visits and hospital stays and improving rates of people in recovery.
In addition to Project Engage, Christiana Care is successfully reducing use of opioids systemwide. A Safe Opioid Stewardship Steering Committee leads a multifaceted strategy to promote responsible prescribing practices, non-opioid alternatives to control pain and evidence-based guidelines for opioid prescription. In post-surgical areas, emergency departments and primary care, Christiana Care has reduced opioid prescriptions by up to 50 percent in these areas.
In partnership with New Castle County, Christiana Care created the pilot Community Substance Overdose Support Program (SOS), a response team of specially trained engagement specialists who, with the patients’ consent, will visit with patients at home following an overdose. The team can provide education and access to resources to patients and their families to help break the cycle of addiction.
“Dr. Nevin’s commitment to combating addiction from every angle is helping many people in our community stay healthy and get into treatment when they need it,” said Duffy. “Her efforts are making Delaware a national leader in helping people achieve sobriety and live their lives again.”