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.


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.


DPH Announces Two Naloxone Training, Distribution Events in New Castle County

NEW CASTLE (March 28, 2019) – As part of its Community Naloxone Distribution initiative, the Division of Public Health (DPH) will hold two additional community naloxone distribution events in New Castle County next week. This initiative is part of a multi-pronged approach to address the opioid crisis and reduce the number of individuals dying from drug overdoses in Delaware.

In conjunction with National Public Health Week (April 1 through 7, 2019), DPH will distribute free naloxone kits to members of the general public during the following times:

  • Wednesday, April 3, 2019, 11:00 a.m. to 2:30 p.m.,
    Springer Building Gymnasium, DHSS Herman Holloway Campus
    1901 N. Dupont Highway, New Castle, DE 19720
  • Saturday, April 6, 2019, 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m.
    Porter State Service Center509 West 8th St., Wilmington, DE 19801

Individuals are encouraged to stop by at any time during either event. Training takes approximately 15 minutes. Each naloxone kit will contain two doses of naloxone, and members of the community who attend these events will receive one-on-one training on how to administer the overdose-reversing medication.

“This training is so important that we wanted to have an event on our main campus that would be open not only to the public, but to state employees as well,” said Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Cabinet Secretary for the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS). “We all can play a role in reducing harm among people suffering from substance use disorder and, potentially, in saving a life. I urge people to stop by either event to get trained on how to use naloxone.” Secretary Walker, a board-certified family physician, will do the training at the Holloway Campus event and receive a naloxone kit.

The Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) also will have representatives on hand to answer any questions about access to treatment for those struggling with substance use disorder.

About 80 percent of all overdoses happen in a private residence – whether it’s the home of the person who overdosed or someone else’s – which is why DPH is encouraging friends, family members, and those struggling with opioid addiction to have naloxone on hand. If family or friends of someone overdosing have naloxone immediately accessible, it can mean the difference between life or death for that person.

Within three to five minutes after administration, naloxone can counteract the life-threatening respiratory depression of an opioid-related overdose and stabilize a person’s breathing, which buys time for emergency medical help to arrive. DPH recommends calling 9-1-1 immediately if you find someone in the midst of a suspected overdose, starting rescue breathing, and then administering naloxone. Naloxone is not a replacement for emergency medical care and seeking immediate help and follow-up care is still vital.

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 Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranked Delaware number six in the nation for overdose mortality rate in 2017.

In 2018, first responders administered 3,728 doses of naloxone, compared to 2,861 in 2017, a 30 percent increase.

Funding for the Community Naloxone Distribution Initiative comes from state funding built into DPH’s budget for the first time in state fiscal year 2019, thanks to the advocacy of Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long and the Behavioral Health Consortium. In October, DPH also announced the agency was awarded federal funds to support the purchase of naloxone and other programs for first responders.

Community access to naloxone has increased significantly since 2014 when legislation was enacted making it available to the public. In 2017, Governor John Carney signed additional legislation ensuring pharmacists had the same legal protections as doctors, peace officers and good Samaritans when dispensing the medicine without a prescription.

Information on community training and pharmacy access to naloxone, along with resources regarding prevention, treatment and recovery are available at https://www.helpisherede.com/Get-Help/Overdose-Prevention.


DPH to Distribute Overdose Reversing Medication Naloxone March 9, 2019 in Georgetown

GEORGETOWN (March 1, 2019) – In an effort to reduce the number of individuals dying from drug overdoses in Delaware, the Division of Public Health (DPH) will hold Community Naloxone Distribution events in each county throughout the month of March. DPH will distribute free naloxone kits to members of the general public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., on Saturday, March 9, 2019, at Delaware Technical Community College, Owens Campus, 21179 College Drive, Georgetown, DE 19947. The distribution event will be held in the Theater Lobby and Rooms 344A/B in the Arts and Sciences Center. DPH is holding its first distribution event Saturday, March 2, 2019, in coordination with the atTAcK addiction 5K race in New Castle.

In addition, a third distribution event will be held in Kent County, from 5:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m., Wednesday, March 20, 2019, at Delaware Technical Community College, Terry Campus, 100 Campus Drive, Dover DE 19904, Corporate Training Center Rooms 408 and 412.

Each naloxone kit will contain two doses of naloxone, and members of the community who attend these events will receive one-on-one training on how to administer the overdose-reversing medication. The Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) also will have representatives on hand to answer any questions about access to treatment for those struggling with substance use disorder.

“It is critically important for family and friends of loved ones struggling with addiction to have access to naloxone,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “The data are telling us that 80 percent of overdoses happen in a residence. If family or friends of someone overdosing have naloxone immediately accessible, it can mean the difference between life or death for that person.”

Within three to five minutes after administration, naloxone can counteract the life-threatening respiratory depression of an opioid-related overdose and stabilize a person’s breathing, which buys time for emergency medical help to arrive. DPH recommends calling 9-1-1 immediately if you find someone in the midst of a suspected overdose, starting rescue breathing, and then administering naloxone. Naloxone is not a replacement for emergency medical care and seeking immediate help and follow-up care is still vital.

There were at least 291 deaths last year in Delaware from suspected overdoses. Tragically, the final number is expected to exceed 400 after all toxicology screens are finished (they take six-eight weeks) and final death determinations are made on outstanding cases by the Division of Forensic Science. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention ranked Delaware as number six in the nation for overdose deaths in 2017.

In 2018, first responders administered 3,728 doses of naloxone, compared to 2,861 in 2017, a 30 percent increase.

Funding for the Community Naloxone Distribution Initiative comes from state funding built into DPH’s budget for the first time in state fiscal year 2019, thanks to the advocacy of Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long and the Behavioral Health Consortium. In October, DPH also announced the agency was awarded federal funds to support the purchase of naloxone and other programs for first responders.

Community access to naloxone has increased significantly since 2014 when legislation was enacted making it available to the public. In 2017, Governor John Carney signed additional legislation ensuring pharmacists had the same legal protections as doctors, peace officers and good Samaritans when dispensing the medicine without a prescription.

Information on community training and pharmacy access to naloxone, along with resources regarding prevention, treatment and recovery are available on 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.

Delaware 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.