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DHSS Press Release

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

Date: December 5, 2014


NEW CASTLE (Dec. 5, 2014) - As part of an ongoing effort to increase and promote substance abuse prevention awareness and education, the Department of Health and Social Services' Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DHSS/DSAMH) will continue to expand efforts through a series of outreach campaigns, which target both adolescents and adults in Delaware.

The expanded outreach and education efforts will engage community leaders, nonprofit organizations and schools with a variety of programs and campaigns that will focus on underage drinking, drinking and driving, as well as substance abuse.

"We have no greater responsibility than protecting the health and safety of Delaware youth, and one of the most important steps we can take is to educate them about the dangers of alcohol and other drugs," Gov. Jack Markell said. "These expanded efforts are important ways to promote prevention with teens, young adults and parents across our state."

The expanded prevention efforts will include:

These efforts are closely coordinated with the Help Is Here campaign, another DHSS initiative, coordinated by the Secretary's office and the Division of Public Health. Launched this year, the one-stop information website connects community members with prevention information and resources, as well as addiction treatment and recovery resources, and crisis services at "We know that as independence grows in teens so does the testing of their boundaries," DHSS Secretary Rita Landgraf said. "We need to educate more young people and their parents that using alcohol, marijuana or prescription drugs even one time can have dangerous consequences. That's why the prevention work that DHSS will do in schools and with young people and their parents is so important. Parents have a tremendous influence on the behavior of their children, and prepared with the right words or prompted by the right message, they can initiate a discussion that could save their child's life."

According to the Center for Drug & Alcohol Studies at the University of Delaware, 35 percent of 11th-graders in Delaware reported using alcohol at least once a month in 2013, with 62 percent saying they used it in the past year and 71 percent saying they has used it in their lifetimes. Among eighth-graders, 14 percent reported at least monthly use of alcohol, with 31 percent saying they used it within the last year and 40 percent in their lifetimes.

As for marijuana, 26 percent of Delaware 11th-graders and 9 percent of eighth-graders reported at least monthly use during 2013, according to the UD study. And 17 percent of 11th-graders and 10 percent of eighth-graders reporting using prescription drugs not prescribed for them during the past year.

The expanded prevention initiatives are expected to begin this month and will continue through 2015.

For more information, call DHSS' Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health at 302-255-9493.

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.