Current Suspected Overdose Deaths in Delaware for 2021: Get Help Now!

EFFECTIVE AUG. 16: At all state offices/facilities, employees and visitors will be required to wear face masks indoors logo

DHSS Press Release

Rita Landgraf, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498

Date: May 4, 2012


52 Percent Increase Over October 2011

Delaware residents participated in the 2012 Prescription Drug Take-Back Day on April 28 in record numbers, turning in more than 6,808 pounds of unwanted or expired medications at the 31 take-back sites statewide.

"It is gratifying to see how Delawareans responded overwhelmingly to the call to turn in their expired and unused prescription medications," Gov. Jack Markell said. "People are helping to alleviate the problem of prescription drug abuse. Their actions will likely save lives."

Since the first statewide Drug Take Back event was held in May 2010, the five Take-Back Days have collected a total of 17,651 pounds of medicines. The statewide Drug Take-Back Day events have dramatically reduced the risk of prescription drug diversion and abuse, and increased awareness of this critical public health issue. Along with the Governor's Office, the state departments of Health and Social Services, State and Safety and Homeland Security, the Attorney General's Office, the federal DEA, and the Delaware Cancer Consortium partnered together in support of the event.

The Take-Back events are a significant piece of DPH's prescription drug abuse prevention efforts and the Prescription Drug Action Committee. The Prescription Drug Action Committee (PDAC) is a partnership with the Medical Society of Delaware, chaired by Dr. Karyl Rattay, Director, DPH, and vice-chaired by Dr. Randeep Kahlon, President, Medical Society of Delaware. The DPAC is looking at permanent ways that other states use to encourage people to turn in expired and unused medications.

"Delawareans should be commended for their terrific response on the Prescription Drug Take-Back Day," Dr. Rattay said. "The Drug Take-Back Day is an important way to keep unused and unwanted drugs off the streets and away from children. It is part of a comprehensive strategy being developed by the PDAC to combat prescription drug abuse in Delaware."

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, enough prescription painkillers were prescribed in 2010 to medicate every American adult around-the-clock for one month. Often, some of these medicines languish in the home and are highly susceptible to diversion, misuse, and abuse. Rates of prescription drug abuse in the U.S. are alarmingly high-more Americans currently abuse prescription drugs than the number of those using cocaine, hallucinogens, heroin, and inhalants combined, according to the 2010 National Survey on Drug Use and Health. In 2009, the Delaware Health Statistics Center reported 137 deaths in Delaware due to drug overdoses. Eighty percent of drug overdose deaths in that year involved one or more prescription drugs.

For more information on future Drug Take-Back Day events or recommendations on handling prescription drugs in the interim, contact DPH's Healthy Homes Program at 1-800-464-HELP (4357). The next Drug Take-Back Day is planned for October 2012.

Total Amount of Medications Collected at Delaware's Statewide Drug Take Back Programs:

Event Date # Pounds

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.
TOTAL 17,651 lbs.

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.