Sussex County Bridge Clinic to Help Individuals, Families Impacted by Mental Illness, Opioid Use Disorder

NEW CASTLE (July 11, 2019) – As a new support for individuals and families impacted by the effects of mental health and substance use issues, the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) officially will open the Sussex County Bridge Clinic on July 15 at the Promise Access Center in Georgetown, providing screening and referrals to treatment, as well as additional services. The Sussex County clinic joins a similar clinic in New Castle County, which opened in March near New Castle.

The Sussex County Bridge Clinic, which is open from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday, is available to all Delaware residents at the Thurman Adams State Service Center, 546 S. Bedford St., Georgetown. The clinic’s services, which do not require an appointment, include:

  • Screening and referrals to treatment.
  • Evaluations conducted by qualified, licensed clinicians.
  • Guidance navigating the care network.
  • Training for administering naloxone, an overdose-reversal medication.
  • Transportation to and from the facility may be available.
  • All services made available regardless of ability to pay.

“In opening this Sussex County Bridge Clinic, we are providing rapid access to qualified clinicians who can help individuals and their families to understand what type of treatment is needed for loved ones and how to engage with the treatment system,” said Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a practicing family physician. “For too many Delaware families in the throes of a behavioral health crisis, they can be overwhelmed simply by trying to navigate the system. The Bridge Clinic provides an in-person starting point.”

Secretary Walker said the opening of the new clinic helps to engage high-risk populations in treatment, one of four main recommendations from a team of researchers and clinicians at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. In April 2017, Secretary Walker asked Johns Hopkins to conduct a review of Delaware’s addiction treatment system. In July 2018, the Johns Hopkins team issued a 33-page report that proposed four main strategies:

  • Increase the capacity of the treatment system.
  • Engage high-risk populations in treatment.
  • Create incentives for quality care.
  • Use data to guide reform and monitor progress.

“Our bridge team leads with care and commitment,” said DSAMH Director Elizabeth Romero. “Persistence is a core principle, and they will never give up helping a client along their journey to recovery.”

For more information, call the Sussex County Bridge Clinic at 302-515-3310.

To reach the New Castle County Bridge Clinic at 14 Central Ave., New Castle (just off U.S. 13), call 302-255-1650.


Drug Take-Back Day Event Collects 5,385 Pounds of Unwanted Or Expired Medications

DOVER (May 15, 2019) – During the 18th Prescription Drug Take-Back Day event on April 27, 2019, Delaware collected 5,385 pounds of unwanted or expired medicine, according to the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) and the Division of Public Health (DPH). That amount is approximately 1,600 pounds more than the 3,739 pounds collected in October. Since the first event in May 2010, Delaware has collected a total of 90,291 pounds of unwanted or expired medicine.

In addition to the 24 drop-off locations open to the public on April 27, there are also 21 permanent medication drop-off locations throughout the state. DPH officials say the increase in collections can be attributed to the cumulative efforts of the permanent drug collection sites, which turned in their medications collected over several months to the DEA on the day of the event.

“We appreciate all of the participants that take part in this biannual event, including not only the public, but also state and local law enforcement agencies,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “Holding these events and giving residents a safe place to dispose of their prescription drugs will continue to decrease the risk of drug misuse and substance use disorder, as drug experimentation often begins at home. However we continue to encourage Delawareans to take advantage of the permanent prescription drug drop box locations and not feel that they have to wait for the next event to come around.”

According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6 million Americans misused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. Since January 1, 2019, there have been 84 suspected overdose deaths in the state. In 2018, 400 Delawareans died from drug overdoses, according to the Delaware Division of Forensic Science.

DPH urges Delawareans to keep medications locked away and to drop them off at a permanent drug collection location when they are no longer wanted, necessary or have expired.

For recommendations on handling unwanted or expired prescription drugs, contact the DEA at 1-800-882-9539. If you were unable to participate in the April 27 event, you can still dispose of your prescription medication at one of Delaware’s 21 permanent drug disposal sites. View the list of sites at https://www.helpisherede.com/Get-Help/Prescription-Drug-Drop-Box.

The cumulative collections from the biannual Delaware Prescription Drug Take-Back Day events are:

May 14, 2010: 1,680 lbs.
September 25, 2010: 303 lbs.
April 30, 2011: 4,395 lbs.
October 29, 2011: 4,465 lbs.
April 28, 2012: 6,808 lbs.
September 29, 2012: 4,561 lbs.
April 27, 2013: 6,122 lbs.
October 26, 2013: 5,258 lbs.
April 26, 2014: 6,476 lbs.
September 27, 2014: 4,707 lbs.
September 12, 2015: 7,227 lbs.
April 30, 2016: 7,684 lbs.
October 22, 2016: 6,059 lbs.
April 29, 2017: 5,211 lbs.
October 28, 2017: 5,518 lbs.
April 28, 2018: 4,693 lbs.
October 27, 2018: 3,739 lbs.
April 27, 2019: 5,385 lbs.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

The Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


24 Locations in Delaware to Participate in Drug Take-Back Day, April 27, 2019

DOVER – Delaware will hold its 18th Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, April 27, 2019. Delawareans can discard their expired or unused medications at 24 locations statewide between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m.

Organized nationally by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Drug Take-Back Day is operated locally by the Division of Public Health (DPH). The twice-a-year event is aimed at reducing the risk of prescription medications being diverted for misuse, and has resulted in nearly 11,000 pounds of medication being collected since 2010. Properly discarding unused medications is an important ongoing event in the effort to address the nationwide opioid epidemic. Doing so reduces the risk of addiction by keeping prescription medications out of the hands of people who may misuse, abuse, or sell them, and helps reduce the risk of drug overdoses.

“Both the direct prescribing of opioids for pain as well as the abundance of these dangerous drugs in our medicine cabinets and communities, have been a significant driver of the opioid epidemic,” said DPH Medical Director Dr. Rick Hong. “By safely turning in your prescription medications during Drug Take-Back Day, you can help fight the opioid epidemic in our state and make your home safe from potential prescription drug abuse or theft.”

According to the 2017 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 6 million Americans abused controlled prescription drugs. The study shows that a majority of abused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. Since January 1, 2019, there have been 70 suspected overdose deaths in the state. Preliminary estimates for 2018 indicate 419 overdose deaths across Delaware, an increase of 21 percent from the 2017 total of 345 deaths, according to the Division of Forensic Science.

In addition to the 24 sites participating in April’s Drug Take-Back Day activities, there are 21 permanent medicine drop-off locations across the state available year-round. Six of Delaware’s permanent drop-off sites are in Walgreens pharmacies and the other 15 are located in local law enforcement agencies. For a list of permanent collection sites, visit https://www.helpisherede.com/Get-Help/Prescription-Drug-Drop-Box.

On Drug Take-Back Day, medications for disposal must be in a container such as a pill bottle, box, blister pack, or zipped plastic bag, with personal information removed. Liquid medications must be in their original containers. Needles, aerosols, biohazard materials, medical equipment and batteries will not be accepted.

Delaware’s Drug Take-Back Day sites for April 27, 2019, from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. are:

New Castle County
• Christiana Care Surgical Center, 4755 Ogletown Stanton Road, Newark
• Delaware City Police Department, 407 Clinton St., Delaware City
• Delaware State Police Troop 2, 100 La Grange Ave., Newark
• Newark Police Department, 220 S. Main. St., Newark (permanent collection site)
• Middletown Police Department, 130 Hampden Road, Middletown
• New Castle County Airport, 151 N. DuPont Highway, New Castle
• New Castle County Police Department, 3601 N. DuPont Highway (permanent collection site)
• Shipley Manor Nursing Home, 2723 Shipley Road, Wilmington
• Wilmington VA Medical Center, 1601 Kirkwood Highway, Wilmington

Kent County
• Atlantic Apothecary, 103. S. Dupont Blvd., Suite 2, Smyrna
• Cheswold Police Department, 691 Main St., Cheswold
• Delaware State Police Troop 3, 3759 S. State St., Camden-Wyoming
• Felton Police Department, 24 E. Sewell St., Felton (permanent collection site)
• Dover Police Department, 300 S. Queen St., Dover (permanent collection site)

Sussex County
• City of Lewes Board of Public Works, 129 Schley Ave., Lewes
• Dagsboro Police Department, 33134 Main St., Dagsboro
• Delaware State Police Troop 7, 18006 Coastal Highway, Lewes
• Laurel Police Department, 205 Mechanic St., Laurel (permanent collection site)
• Milton Police Department, 101 Federal St., Milton
• Milford Police Department, 400 NE Front St., Milford (permanent collection site)
• Atlantic Shores Rehabilitation and Health Center, 231 S. Washington St., Millsboro
• Ocean View Police Department, 201 Central Ave., Ocean View, (permanent collection site)
• Lewes Ferry Terminal, 43 Cape Henlopen Dr., Lewes
• Rehoboth Police Department, 229 Rehoboth Ave., Rehoboth Beach

For more details about Drug Take-Back Day, visit http://dhss.delaware.gov/dph/hsp/hhdrugtakeback.html or call 302-744-4546, ext. 4.
If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction in Delaware, call DHSS’ 24/7 Crisis Hotline to be connected to treatment and recovery options. In New Castle County, call 1-800-652-2929. Or in Kent and Sussex counties, call 1-800-345-6785. To search online for treatment and recovery services in Delaware or nearby states, visit HelpIsHereDE.com.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.


Amended Complaint Asserts Walgreens’ Liability in Opioid Epidemic

In a recent court filing in Delaware’s ongoing civil lawsuit against the pharmaceutical industry over the prescription opioid crisis, the State asserts Walgreens’ liability for its role in the addiction epidemic as both a pharmacy and a distributor and seeks to add Walgreens to the list of manufacturer and distributor defendants.

An amended complaint filed April 2 argues that two Walgreens entities, Walgreen Co. and Walgreen Eastern Co., Inc., distributed and filled prescriptions for large amounts of prescription opioids in Delaware between 2006 and 2014, controlling a substantial portion of the Delaware wholesale prescription opioid market during that time. Walgreens was an original defendant in the suit filed last year and was dismissed from the lawsuit in February 2019, but the court’s order allowed for additional information to be provided to argue that Walgreens should be added back in as a defendant.

The suit contends Walgreens failed in its duty to use due diligence to avoid filling orders for prescription opioids that could be diverted into illicit markets. The amended complaints also adds Walgreens to its Distributor Claims, which consist of negligence and consumer fraud claims.

The inclusion of pharmacies in Delaware’s suit makes it one of the nation’s only legal actions that targets every level of the prescription opioid distribution system for its alleged failure to meet legal obligations that have contributed to Delaware’s opioid addiction epidemic.

The suit in Delaware Superior Court names Purdue Pharma L.P., Purdue Pharma Inc., The Purdue Frederick Company, Endo Health Solutions Inc., Endo Pharmaceuticals Inc., McKesson Corporation, Cardinal Health, Inc., Amerisourcebergen Drug Corporation, Anda Pharmaceuticals, Inc., H. D. Smith, LLC, Walgreen Co., and Walgreen Eastern Co., Inc. as defendants. Delaware is represented in this litigation by the law firms of Gilbert LLP, Fields PLLC, Connolly Gallagher LLP, and Cross & Simon, LLC.


DPH Launches Statewide Campaign to Prevent Opioid Abuse from Starting After Dental Procedures

DOVER — The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) is engaging dental providers in the launch of a statewide campaign directed at increasing awareness about the addictive nature of opioid medications used after dental procedures. Dentists are among the leading prescribers of opioid medications, particularly for surgical tooth extractions. In fact, dentists and oral surgeons are commonly in a position to prescribe adolescents their first opioid prescription after the removal of the third molars, also known as “wisdom teeth.” The highest number of dental-related opioid prescriptions are for teenagers ages 14 to 17, followed closely by young adults ages 18 to 24.

DPH has begun distributing a toolkit to every dental office in the state with resources for both dentists and patients to encourage safe and healthy pain management. Included is a provider letter and fact sheet, a patient brochure, and posters for display in dental offices. The campaign drives home the message that “all pain is not the same,” and therefore should be treated effectively without opioids whenever possible. The American Dental Association (ADA) strongly recommends considering non-steroidal anti-inflammatory drugs (NSAIDs) such as Motrin or Aleve as the first-line of therapy for acute pain management.

“Dental professionals have a unique opportunity to help curtail the opioid epidemic by suggesting opioid alternatives for pain management when possible, counseling patients on the risks of opioid use, and educating on proper disposal procedures,” said Dr. Nick Conte, Director of the DPH Bureau of Oral Health and Dental Services (BOHDS).

A 2011 study in the Journal of the American Dental Association (JADA) estimated that dentists are responsible for 12 percent of prescriptions for fast-acting opioid pain relievers, just below general practitioners and internal medicine doctors. The opioid drugs most commonly prescribed by dentists are hydrocodone and oxycodone, which are highly addictive and have the highest potential for abuse.

This statewide campaign supports a larger state initiative to lower the rate of opioid prescriptions, with the ultimate goal to reduce opioid-related overdoses and deaths. In 2018, DPH launched an expanded section on HelpIsHereDE.com for health care providers, loaded with information; tools, such as forms and screening templates; and resources, including patient materials. Patient and dental provider materials from the oral health toolkit have now been added to the health care provider section of the website. HelpIsHereDE.com is a website providing addiction prevention, treatment, and recovery resources and information for individuals, families and health care providers in Delaware.

According to the CDC, Delaware is ranked first in the nation for prescribing high-dose opioids, and is also ranked first for prescribing long-acting opioids. DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay says that while a small percentage of providers (1 percent) are writing 32 percent of opioid prescriptions, almost all providers are struggling with how to better help their patients.

“This isn’t just about telling providers what they need to do,” said Dr. Rattay of the expansion of the health care provider section of the website. “It’s about motivating them by telling them why they need to do it. It’s also about providing comprehensive, evolving support to the trusted caregivers in our community. Certainly, the entire crisis surrounding opioid addiction and drug-related deaths doesn’t lie solely in the hands of health care providers, but they are the critical starting point, and offer the greatest potential for impacting our state’s continual move toward safer use of opioids.”

Preliminary estimates for 2018 indicate 419 overdose deaths across the state, an increase of 21 percent from the 2017 total of 345 deaths, according to the Division of Forensic Science. The CDC ranked Delaware number six in the nation for overdose mortality rate in 2017.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction in Delaware, call DHSS’ 24/7 Crisis Hotline to be connected to treatment and recovery options. In New Castle County, call 1-800-652-2929. Or in Kent and Sussex counties, call 1-800-345-6785. To search online for treatment and recovery services in Delaware or nearby states, visit www.HelpIsHereDE.com.

A person who is deaf, hard-of-hearing, deaf-blind or speech-disabled can call the DPH phone number above by using TTY services. Dial 7-1-1 or 800-232-5460 to type your conversation to a relay operator, who reads your conversation to a hearing person at DPH. The relay operator types the hearing person’s spoken words back to the TTY user. To learn more about TTY availability in Delaware, visit http://delawarerelay.com.

The Department of Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware’s citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations. DPH, a division of DHSS, urges Delawareans to make healthier choices with the 5-2-1 Almost None campaign: eat 5 or more fruits and vegetables each day, have no more than 2 hours of recreational screen time each day (includes TV, computer, gaming), get 1 or more hours of physical activity each day, and drink almost no sugary beverages.