DPH Announces 22nd DEA National Prescription Drug Take-back Day For Delaware

DOVER (April 26, 2022) – Delaware will hold its 22nd National DEA Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on Saturday, April 30, 2022. Delawareans can discard their expired or unused medications at locations statewide between 10:00 a.m. and 2:00 p.m. There will also be Sharps disposals for needle disposal at select locations, and overdose response education with free Narcan available at select locations.

Organized nationally by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), Prescription 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 100,000 pounds of medication being collected since 2010. Properly discarding unused medications through this event is an important ongoing activity 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 divert them, and helps reduce the risk of drug overdoses.

“The addiction for far too many people living with substance use first began because they had access to prescription medications from the homes of someone they know,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “By safely turning in your prescription medications that have expired, or that you no longer need, on Drug Take-Back Day, you can help fight the epidemic in Delaware while also making your home safer.”

According to the 2020 National Survey on Drug Use and Health, 16.1 million people reported misusing any prescription drug in the past 12 months. The survey also showed that a majority of misused prescription drugs were obtained from family and friends, often from the home medicine cabinet. According to the state Division of Forensic Science, there were 515 overdose deaths in 2021 in Delaware, a 15 percent increase from the 447 reported in 2020.

In addition to the sites participating in National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day activities, there are 28 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 22 are located in local law enforcement agencies. In addition to medicine drop off locations, DPH and community partners also distribute medication deactivation bags to the public to use at home. For a list of permanent collection sites and how to get a free disposal bag, visit www.helpisherede.com/understanding-addiction/safe-drug-storage-and-disposal.

The medications to be disposed of at the Take-Back Day locations 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. Besides medications, vape pens and e-cigarettes will be collected if the batteries are removed. There are 25 locations participating in the National Prescription Drug Take Back event. You can find the list of locations here: https://www.dea.gov/takebackday.

Delawareans can bring any used needles to be disposed of properly at the following locations (https://www.helpisherede.com/documents/DDPHOHCR-34668-HelpIsHereDE-SharpsDisposalLocations_R1.pdf). The used needle disposal containers are only for public and not commercial entities, and individuals will need to sign a waiver stating that needles are from home use. Outside of health care facilities, an estimated 7.8 billion injections occur a year according to solid waste and recycling organization Waste 360. Once recycled, needles can result in accidental sticks carrying blood-borne pathogens. The safest way to dispose of needles is to use a designated Sharps disposal container which is delivered to incinerators so that accidental exposure cannot occur.

To further enhance overdose prevention and education efforts, three of the DEA National Prescription Drug Take Back locations (Middletown, Wyoming, and Selbyville Police Departments) will also be offering Overdose Response Training and Narcan distribution to the public. It is recommended that anyone who has a prescription opioid or has friends and family who use opioid prescriptions or illicit drugs receive this training and the overdose reversal medication, Narcan. For other community trainings and where you can get free Narcan go to: https://www.helpisherede.com/overdose-prevention.

For more details about the National Prescription Drug Take-Back Day, visit http://dhss.delaware.gov/dph/hsp/hhdrugtakeback.html.

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. For free 24/7 counseling, coaching, and support, as well as links to mental health, addiction, and crisis services call the Delaware Hope Line at 833-9-HOPEDE. 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.


Division of Public Health Partners With Construction Industry to  Provide Lifesaving Narcan to Workers

NEWARK, DE (Nov. 20, 2021) – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) has partnered with the state’s construction industry to drive down the number of drug overdose deaths in Delaware. In partnership with Bancroft Construction, the DPH Office of Health Crisis Response held a Narcan distribution event Thursday, Nov. 18, for Bancroft workers at the University of Delaware FinTech job site.  

This partnership also has allowed DPH to provide construction supervisors with training about overdose, the stigma associated with addiction, and Narcan administration for over 20 Bancroft Construction supervisors. The distribution event was the first time DPH was able to get Narcan directly into the hands of the workers who are at risk of overdose or who may find themselves in a life-saving position to help others. 

“This was a small step in the right direction to help combat drug overdose deaths,” said Kate Brookins, Director of the DPH Office of Health Crisis Response. “The overdose epidemic is a nationwide public health emergency that impacts all of our communities in Delaware, but the construction industry is particularly hard-hit.”  

There were 447 drug overdose deaths across the state in 2020, according to the Delaware Division of Forensic Science. As of 2019, Delaware had the second-highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the country, with 48 deaths per 100,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. 

The DPH Drug Overdose Mortality Surveillance Report released in August 2019 showed 23% of overdose deaths in 2017 were identified as working in the construction industry. The top two occupational industries of jobs held by males who died of a drug overdose were construction (36%) and the installation, maintenance, and repair industry (9.1%; includes mechanics, HVAC repair, engine repair, maintenance, and others).

To date, the Office of Health Crisis Response has partnered with Bancroft and other major construction companies and groups to offer training about the stigma associated with addiction and administering Narcan. The Office is also in the process of developing a toolkit specifically geared toward individuals in this industry to better assist organizations in overdose awareness and prevention.

Narcan is the brand name of naloxone, a medication that can reverse the effects of opioids in an overdose situation and can potentially save a life. People who witness an overdose should also call 9-1-1 and wait for medical help to arrive.

Narcan is available at most pharmacies in Delaware through a standing order, and a prescription from an individual’s doctor is not needed. Individuals can also visit www.HelpIsHereDe.com to receive overdose training and Narcan through the mail, or they can visit one of the Department of Health and Social Services’ Bridge Clinics to get a free Narcan kit. The public is encouraged to download the free OpiRescue DE smartphone app, which provides step-by-step instructions on how to start an overdose rescue and locations of pharmacies that carry naloxone.

 

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use disorder, call DHSS’ Delaware Hope Line to be connected to trained crisis professionals who can discuss treatment options at 1-833-9-HOPEDE (1-833-946-7333). Individuals and families also can visit DHSS’ website, www.HelpIsHereDE.com, to find addiction treatment and recovery services in Delaware or nearby states.

 

 


DHSS, Other Agencies Seek to Connect Patients of Two Prescribers Associated with Md. Clinic to Continuing Treatment

NEW CASTLE (Feb. 5, 2021) –Two Maryland prescribers associated with a clinic in Denton, Maryland, on the Eastern Shore of Maryland surrendered their Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) Registration for cause in early January. The associated prescribers to this practice are no longer able to prescribe controlled substances. Patients of this Eastern Shore practice, including Delaware residents, should seek alternatives for care.

Of the prescribers’ 300 now former patients, about 50% live in Delaware, mostly in Sussex County. To increase the opportunity for continuity of care for these patients, the Delaware Division of Public Health, the Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, the Delaware Division of Professional Regulation and the Office of Controlled Substances are coordinating efforts to notify hospital and community pharmacies, hospital emergency departments and treatment programs.

Delaware officials said the most effective way to provide the clinic’s former patients with guidance and referrals to other providers is through the patients’ primary care physicians. If that doesn’t occur, patients being treated over long periods of time for pain with opioids such as oxycodone, fentanyl, morphine and oxymorphone will need to access providers with expertise in treating and managing pain.

Delaware patients who are seeking referrals to physicians may contact the Delaware Hope Line at 1-833-9-HOPEDE (1-833-946-7333).

In addition, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services’ Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration provides a 24/7 National Helpline to provide referrals for treatment services at 1-800-662-4359.

While opioids serve a purpose in managing a patient’s pain, they belong to a family of prescription drugs, which can lead to addiction. Delaware is one of the top 20 states in opioid prescriptions per capita and currently has the nation’s highest prescription rate for high-dose opioids. Delaware also ranks in the top five states for most overdose deaths per capita.

In its annual report for 2019, the Delaware Division of Forensic Science reported 431 overdose deaths in Delaware, an increase of almost 8% over 2018. Of the 431 total deaths, the Division reported that 341 (79%) involved fentanyl, a synthetic pain reliever that is 50-100 times more potent than morphine. Many of those deaths involved fentanyl powder, fentanyl mixed with heroin, or counterfeit controlled substance pills containing fentanyl. The percentage of total overdose deaths in 2019 involving fentanyl was 5 percentage points higher than in 2018. A final report on overdose deaths for 2020 is not expected until April, but Delaware expects to see an increase in overdose deaths over the 2019 total.

Recognizing the importance of harm reduction, prevention, treatment and recovery, the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) launched www.HelpIsHereDE.com to offer resources to Delawareans and their loved ones suffering from substance use disorder (SUD). In 2020, DHSS also launched the 24/7 Delaware Hope Line at 1-833-9-HOPEDE (1-833-946-7333) to provide a connection to treatment for anyone suffering from substance use disorder, anxiety, depression, or any other behavioral health issue.

Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay urged Delawareans who are worried about the risk of overdose among family members or friends to obtain naloxone – a medication that can reverse an opioid overdose – through a new DPH mail-order service that can deliver Narcan to an eligible person’s home for free; at one of DSAMH’s Bridge Clinics in each of the three counties; through a participating pharmacy – where no prescription is required; or as part of a naloxone training session.

“Naloxone saves lives,” said Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “We also encourage Delawareans to download OpiRescue Delaware, a smartphone app that provides life-saving step-by-step instructions on how to respond to an overdose, including administration of naloxone.” To find the Bridge Clinic in your county, naloxone training or distribution events, or a participating pharmacy, go to HelpIsHereDE.com, and click on the overdose prevention tab.


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.


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.