Overdose Medication Distribution Planned For Smyrna Wednesday

Commissioner Navarro to provide Naloxone kits and training at event

Insurance Commissioner Trinidad Navarro, in collaboration with Public Health’s Kent County Community Response Team, the First Presbyterian Church of Smyrna, and the Smyrna-Clayton Ministerium will provide free training and opioid rescue kits to residents on Wednesday, October 14 from 2:00 to 5:00PM. The event, taking place outdoors at the First Presbyterian Church of Smyrna, 118 W. Commerce St. will offer both drive-through and walk up options in order to maintain social distancing.

“Amidst the COVID-19 pandemic, we can’t forget about the opioid epidemic. Addiction has its grip on our community, and with this event and others, we can make sure that Naloxone gets to individuals and families who may need it during an opioid overdose emergency” said Commissioner Navarro. “While we continue to work to ensure that treatment for those with drug dependencies is affordable and accessible, events like these offer an opportunity to increase awareness and education life-saving techniques and tools.”

Attendees will spend roughly ten minutes being trained to recognize and respond to an opioid overdose emergency, as well as learning about local treatment and support resources. Opioid Rescue Kits, each containing two doses of Naloxone, an opioid overdose reversal medication, will be distributed. Residents who are at risk of experiencing and overdose, or individuals whose loved ones may be at risk, are strongly encouraged to attend.

If you or a loved one are struggling with substance abuse, do not wait, find help today. The Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health launched the 24/7 Hope line to serve as a single point of contact for resources, info, clinical and peer support, and crisis assistance. Call 1-833-9-HOPEDE or visit HelpisHereDE.com.

Any residents having problems obtaining insurance approval for treatment or prescriptions related to substance abuse or mental health needs, contact the Delaware Department of Insurance’s Consumer Services Division by emailing consumer@delaware.gov or calling (302) 674-7300.

Event attendees and media representatives must observe social distancing and wear a face covering.

NOTE TO MEDIA: If you plan to attend, please RSVP to Christina.Haas@Delaware.gov.


DHSS Partners with Google, Partnership for Drug-Free Kids to Bring Online Resources to Delaware Families

WILMINGTON (Nov. 21, 2019) – The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and Google have launched a first-in-the-nation partnership to bring needed resources to Delaware families looking for help online for a loved one struggling with substance use disorder.

DHSS will work with Partnership and Google to identify communication strategies aimed at increasing online awareness of available treatment and recovery services for Delaware families. These strategies are designed to connect individuals struggling with behavioral health issues and their families to resources as quickly as possible and, in many cases, to do so in real-time.

“Helping families find that connection to care for their loved ones when they need it most is one of the most important things we can do in state government,” Delaware Governor John Carney said. “I am grateful to the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and Google for their collaboration to serve families in need across our state.”

“We’re honored to support the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and DHSS in their work supporting Delaware families impacted by substance abuse,” said Google Director Adam Barea. “We hope this pilot will help more families have access to quality online resources and put more Delawareans on the path to recovery.”

“We are honored to be working with the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services and Google to help those struggling with substance use in Delaware,” said Fred Muench, president of Partnership for Drug-Free Kids, which recently merged with Center on Addiction. “We know that families in Delaware are using Google to search for help for their loved ones and we are proud to be part of an effort to get them the credible information and support that they need.”

In 2018, the number of Delawareans using Google to search for information on substance use ranked in the top 10 of all U.S. states. Additionally, Delaware ranks first in the U.S. for Google searches of methadone, a medication used to help people suffering from opioid use disorder to stave off withdrawal and cravings.

The launch comes just before the holiday season, which can be a particularly difficult time for individuals and their families struggling with addiction. Because of the added pressure of family gatherings, substance use often escalates, relapses occur, and many states, including Delaware, often see a spike in overdoses and overdose deaths.

Google will provide $500,000 to the Partnership as well as in-kind technical assistance to the Department of Health and Social Services’ Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH). The technical assistance will help connect Delawareans with quality resources for those suffering from substance use disorder as well as for their caregivers – such as the Partnership’s helpline. It also includes the production of a series of videos featuring testimonials from Delawareans impacted by the addiction epidemic.

“Every day, we see the horrible toll that the opioid epidemic takes on Delaware families and families across the country,” said DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a practicing family physician. “This new collaboration with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids and Google will bring critical online resources to Delaware families when the need is most urgent. When someone is ready to begin treatment, that connection to care is one of the most important moments in the journey to recovery.”

A Wilmington father, whose son is now in recovery, knows how difficult it can be to make that connection. “In addition to having 19 years of sobriety, for 25 years I have helped hospitals and providers develop better patient engagement and improved outcomes through health care technology,” said Mike Lang of Wilmington. “If anyone was equipped to navigate the complexities of today’s health care, it was me. I learned just how difficult it was to navigate our health care system during a family crisis when my son overdosed. This initial crisis marked the beginning of a three-year recovery journey.”

In 2017, Delaware ranked sixth in the nation in drug overdose death rates, with most of those deaths directly linked to opioids – including heroin, prescription opioids and fentanyl, a synthetic opioid that is 50 times more powerful than heroin. Last year alone, Delaware lost 400 lives to overdose, marking an increase of 16% in overdose deaths from 2017. Nearly three in four of those deaths involved fentanyl. The state is on pace to lose a similar number of lives to overdose in 2019.

To be connected to treatment and recovery resources in Delaware or nearby states, individuals and families also can visit DHSS’ clearinghouse website for services, HelpIsHereDE.com.


DPH to Distribute Overdose-Reversing Medication Naloxone Friday, Sept. 6 in Millsboro

MILLSBORO  — In response to six suspected overdose deaths, including four in Sussex County, that occurred over the holiday weekend, the Division of Public Health (DPH) will hold a Community Naloxone Training and Distribution event in Millsboro on Friday, Sept. 6, 2019. DPH will distribute free naloxone kits to members of the public from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. at Millsboro Fire Company, 109 East State St., Millsboro, DE 19966.

Each kit contains 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) will also have representatives on hand to answer any questions about access to treatment for those struggling with substance use disorder. 

“We know that 80 percent of overdoses happen in a residence,” said DPH Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “If family or friends of someone overdosing have naloxone immediately accessible, it can mean the difference between life or death for that person. We urge anyone who might ever have a need for access to naloxone to attend this distribution event, and also to download OpiRescue Delaware, a new smartphone app that provides lifesaving step-by-step instructions on how to respond to an overdose, including administration of naloxone.”

For more information about OpiRescue Delaware, go to HelpIsHereDE.com, and click on the overdose prevention tab.

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.

As of today, Sept. 5, the Division of Forensic Science has reported a total of 194 suspected overdose deaths in Delaware this year. There is always a lag in terms of both toxicology analyses and death determinations. In 2018, there were 400 overdose deaths across the state, an increase of 16 percent from the 2017 total of 345 deaths. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) 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.

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 pharmacy access and training for 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.


Delaware Officials Issue Warning after 6 Suspected Overdose Deaths During Holiday Weekend

NEW CASTLE (Sept. 3, 2019) – Health and public safety officials are urging people in active use of heroin or other opioids and their families to seek immediate treatment and to acquire the overdose-reversing medication naloxone in the wake of six suspected overdose deaths, including four in Sussex County, during the holiday weekend.
The six suspected overdose deaths happened in Sussex and New Castle counties between Friday, Aug. 30, and Sunday, Sept. 1, the Division of Forensic Science reported. Preliminary data show that first responders in Sussex County – police, fire and EMS – responded to 25 suspected overdose incidents between Aug. 30 and Sept. 2, a substantial increase over a typical four-day period.
The five deaths from suspected overdoses on Aug. 30-31 brought the monthly total for August to 33 deaths. As of today, Sept. 3, the Division of Forensic Science has reported a total of 194 suspected overdose deaths in Delaware this year. There is always a lag in terms of both toxicology analyses and death determinations. In 2018, there were 400 overdose deaths across the state, an increase of 16 percent from the 2017 total of 345 deaths.
“Until the Division of Forensic Science determines the particular chemical make-up of the substances involved in these deaths, it is critical that people be aware of the dangers,” said Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a practicing family physician. “Five of these deaths happened at residences, so it’s important that people have naloxone in their homes if they know or suspect their loved one is using opioids. If you see someone overdose, call 9-1-1 immediately, begin rescue breathing and administer naloxone, which can reverse the effects of an opioid overdose, and save the person in distress.”
“Naloxone saves lives,” said Division of Public Health Director Dr. Karyl Rattay. “We urge anyone who needs access to naloxone to connect with Brandywine Counseling & Community Services, which operates the syringe services program for the Division of Public Health or go to a participating pharmacy to buy the overdose-reversing medication. We also urge Delawareans to download OpiRescue Delaware, a new smartphone app that provides lifesaving step-by-step instructions on how to respond to an overdose, including administration of naloxone.” For more information, go to HelpIsHereDE.com, and click on the overdose prevention tab.
In 2018, first responders administered 3,728 doses of naloxone, compared with 2,861 doses in 2017, a 30 percent increase.
Elizabeth Romero, director of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH), urged individuals in active substance use to see a medical provider immediately, come to a DSAMH Bridge Clinic in Sussex or New Castle counties, or call DHSS’ 24/7 Crisis Services Helpline to be connected to trained crisis professionals who can discuss treatment options.
The Sussex County Bridge Clinic, in the Thurman Adams State Service Center, 546 S. Bedford St., Georgetown, is open from 8:30 a.m.to 4 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call 302-515-3310. The New Castle County Bridge Clinic, 14 Central Ave. (just off U.S. 13) near New Castle, is open from 9 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Monday through Friday. For more information, call 302-255-1650. The Kent County Bridge Clinic is expected to open this fall.
In Kent and Sussex counties, the DSAMH Crisis Helpline number is 1-800-345-6785. In New Castle County, the number is 1-800-652-2929. Individuals and families also can visit DHSS’ website, www.HelpIsHereDE.com, to find addiction treatment and recovery services in Delaware and nearby states.
Romero encouraged anyone who is using or suffering from addiction to call for help, see a medical provider, or ask a police officer or another first responder for help. “Too many times, our police officers, EMTs and other first responders see first-hand the dangers of overdoses,” she said. “Our first priority is to save lives.”
Under Delaware’s 911/Good Samaritan Law, people who call 9-1-1 to report an overdose and the person in medical distress cannot be arrested for low-level drug crimes.
In 2018, the Division of Forensic Science confirmed the presence of fentanyl in 296 of the 400 total fatal overdoses, a 41 percent increase over 2017. Fentanyl is a synthetic pain reliever that is up to 50 times more potent than heroin.
Drug dealers sell fentanyl in a variety of ways, according to the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA). Dealers sell pure fentanyl in white powder form to users who often assume they are buying heroin. They lace cocaine or heroin with fentanyl. And they press fentanyl into pills and pass them off as Oxycodone.
When users ingest fentanyl or a drug laced with fentanyl, it affects their central nervous system and brain. Because it is such a powerful opioid, users often have trouble breathing or can stop breathing as the drug sedates them. If someone is too drowsy to answer questions, is having difficulty breathing, or appears to be so asleep they cannot be awakened, call 9-1-1 immediately, start rescue breathing and administer naloxone if you have it at home.


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.