Press Room

ASTHO Member and Delaware Health Official Karyl Rattay Testifies on Nation’s Opioid Epidemic

ARLINGTON, VA (May 9, 2019)— Karyl Rattay, MD, MS, director and state health officer at the Delaware Division of Public Health, testified today on the Administration’s response to the drug crisis before the United States House Committee on Oversight and Government Reform. The hearing, “The Trump Administration’s Response to the Drug Crisis, Part II,” continues the committee’s examination of national drug control efforts by ONDCP, including efforts to expand access to treatment for substance use disorder.

“The opioid epidemic continues to evolve, and it remains a deadly and complicated issue. Fentanyl is now driving an alarming increase in deaths. In addition, many states are seeing emerging drug patterns and trends with methamphetamine, cocaine, and benzodiazepines, often in combination with opioids, and continue to face challenges with alcohol misuse and addiction. Addiction is plaguing our country, impacting individuals, families, schools, the workplace, and entire communities. We must address this like a chronic disease and apply evidence-based strategies to prevent addiction. Additionally, we must further expand access to effective treatment and ensure that the systems in place are engaging, comprehensive, coordinated, integrated, high-quality, and person-centered. In this respect, we need to redouble our efforts to meet people where they are in their communities, provide immediate connection to treatment following an overdose, and ensure a warm hand-off no matter the setting. We must also focus on saving more lives with naloxone and preventing the spread of infections with proven approaches like syringe service programs,” says Rattay.

“Collectively, states, territories, and local health departments recognize the opioid crisis as a complex issue,” Rattay continued. “Our efforts to combat the issue cannot be accomplished without the support of federal grants. It is very important that Congress provide sustained and predictable federal funding so that states and territories can build infrastructure to combat and prevent addiction. Our work includes not only saving lives but improving the lives of people impacted by the disease of addiction.”

For more information about the hearing, visit the committee’s website.


ASTHO is the national nonprofit organization representing the public health agencies of the United States, the U.S. territories and freely associated states, and the District of Columbia, as well as the more than 100,000 public health professionals these agencies employ. ASTHO members, the chief health officials of these jurisdictions, are dedicated to formulating and influencing sound public health policy and to ensuring excellence in public health practice