The Delaware Restaurant Accolade Program

In Cincinnati, Ohio, a local coalition that addresses community safety issues trains bar and restaurant workers on how to identify and react to suspected drug overdoses. Anyone who completes the training receives naloxone to take back to their work establishment.

In Oakland, California, a not-for-profit company sends volunteers to establishments throughout the city to stock and replenish restaurant and bar restrooms with fentanyl test strips. The founder of the company said that he was tired of seeing accidental overdoses and wanted to do something about them.

In New York City, many restaurants and bars are offering patrons free fentanyl test strips and naloxone. These harm reduction tools are increasingly popping up in cafes, restaurants, and juice bars in the Big Apple. One restaurant manager said that these tools do not condone drug use, but recreational drug use is in the community, and he wants people to be safe.

The restaurant industry has been particularly impacted by the opioid epidemic with, for example, ten percent of food service workers dying from opioid overdoses in the State of Delaware.[1] This sobering statistic prompted the Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) to launch the Restaurant Accolade Program (the Program), which trains all restaurant staff and owners in the state on how to identify, respond to, and reverse an opioid overdose and helps food establishments draft policies that support employees and patrons with substance use disorders (SUDs). The Office of Health Crisis Response (OCHR) within DPH conducts the training and education.

The Program has three levels of hands-on training (bronze, silver, and gold), and upon completion of each level, trainees receive certification, recognition, and a window cling that their establishment displays letting patrons and others know that the restaurant staff has been trained, or is in training, to help those who may be experiencing an overdose.

The Restaurant Accolade Program is one of OHCR’s many programs to help reduce opioid overdoses and SUD across the state. The program was developed to assist restaurants, hospitality groups, and other food service industry workers across the state, while working to combat the stigma often associated with SUD.

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[1] DPH Announces Launch of Restaurant Accolade Program to Address Substance Abuse Prevention, Opioid Overdose, DE Dept. of Health and Social Services, (released March 15, 2022),