Delaware man beats the opioid odds the latest from wdel news wdel.com gum infection after tooth extraction symptoms

The Westover Hills teen had been abusing prescription painkillers like Oxycontin and Vicodin throughout almost all of his high school years while attending the prestigious Tatnall School. His first taste of the medication–and the addictive euphoria that resulted–came through a doctor’s prescription after he had his wisdom teeth removed freshman year.

And Rabolt’s not alone, many opioid addictions are born by a doctor’s prescription; some people need opioids to ease their pain; many others don’t. Attorney General Matt Denn said the state is taking steps to ensure doctors are taking proper precautions and pursuing opioid alternatives when warranted.

The origins of this epidemic aren’t really in dispute…the massive increase in heroin overdose deaths tracks pretty closely with the dramatic increase in the prescription rates of opioid medications, and that increase was driven in large part by messaging to medical professionals and training of medical professionals that was subsidized and organized by pharmaceutical manufacturers, said Denn.


It was tough, because when I realized I wanted to get help, I just wanted to get off the pills, I didn’t want to stop drinking and smoking; I didn’t understand why that was related so it was just a whole new way of thinking because recovery, that concept of getting sober and having that new way of life, that’s not really a common theme that you’re taught about in school or you talk about with your family, said Rabolt. So it was completely new and terrifying. Having to go to detox and treatment, it was scary for an 18-year-old kid to go through and do that while everyone else is going on spring break and partying.

We’ll get them into a detox facility for a week or so; if they’re lucky, they can get into another facility for another couple of weeks, but that’s it. Unless they have a family that is wealthy enough to send them to another state outside of Delaware with a longer term program and pay for it out of pocket and be able to logistically leave the state for an extended period of time, they’re back on their own, in most cases, said Denn. In almost every instance, they’re on their own.

In his Fiscal Year 2019 budget presentation to the General Assembly’s Joint Finance Committee, Denn requested that $4 million in economic development funds be used to incentivize new addiction treatment facilities in the state. With a surplus in revenues, he said even more could be spent towards combating the opioid epidemic.

Opioid addiction is not fixed in seven days; it’s not usually fixed in 30 days, and that many people with addictions need more intensive help to get well, Denn said. They need to be in a sober living facility, or they need to be in a longer-term residential treatment facility.

I probably would’ve benefited from a recovery high school because they get it, Rabolt said. They understand pieces about recovery that other schools can’t possibly understand, and they have the right processes and protocols in place to focus on a student’s recovery more so than anything else.

Since he was 18, Rabolt was able to stay in state and attended the MeadowWood psychiatric and addiction treatment facility near New Castle; he also received addiction counseling at Pace, along Kirkwood Highway. Delaware has no residential treatment centers for youth, intensifying the need for a recovery high school.

It’s kind of surreal. In the beginning it was so meaningful–and it still really is. At this point, it’s kind of progressed past the point where it’s about me; I’m really grateful that I am in recovery, but it’s more so about helping other people get the same thing, because I realize looking back how lucky I am.

Delaware really needs the recovery high school, and even just overall, to step up the level of recovery support services for individuals throughout the state, he said. Not only is it the right thing to do, but individuals who get into recovery have such a higher trajectory of personal and career success, it’s win win for everybody, if you get people into recovery. It avoids death, gets them healthy, gets their families healthy, helps the economy, helps society.