Current Suspected Overdose Deaths in Delaware for 2018: 241 logo

DHSS Press Release

Dr. Kara Odom Walker, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Pager 302-357-7498

Date:September 08, 2017


WHO: The Honorable Ruth Briggs King, Representative, Delaware General Assembly
Karyl T. Rattay, MD, MS, Director, Division of Public Health (DPH), DHSS; and Co-chair, Addiction Action Committee
David Paul, MD, Chair of Pediatrics, Christiana Care Health System; and Chair of the Delaware Healthy Mother and Infant Consortium (DHMIC)
Jennifer Donahue, Esq., co-lead, Child Protection Accountability Commission, Substance Exposed Infants Subcommittee
Trenee Parker, Deputy Division Director, Division of Family Services, Department of Services for Children, Youth, and Their Families

Linked to the ongoing work to combat the addiction epidemic in Delaware, several public and private agencies have been working together under the Substance Exposed Infant In-Depth Technical Assistance project (SEI IDTA) to increase prevention, recognition and treatment of substance exposure in infants, and build a system where substance exposed infants and their families get the support they need.

The SEI IDTA group will be joined by Rep. Briggs King, sponsor of House Concurrent Resolution 44, which designates September 17-23 as an awareness week for "the Prevention, Recognition, and Treatment of Prenatal Substance Exposure in Infants and to Support Healthy Families in Delaware."

DHSS will be launching new guidance for OB/GYN practices and educational materials on the dangers of substance use while pregnant, and how to screen pregnant women for potential addiction and connect them with treatment. The materials will be available starting September 15 at

Officials will also discuss new strategies and greater coordination to provide substance exposed infants with needed treatment while ensuring that their parents, who may be struggling with addiction, receive needed medical treatment, under a "Plan of Safe Care."

WHY: Infants who are exposed to substances in the womb are at risk of being born with birth defects, learning difficulties, and behavior issues - problems they will strive to overcome throughout their lives. In 2016, 431 substance exposed infants were reported to the Department of Services for Children, Youth and Their Families. Marijuana and opioids are the most common substances found at birth in Delaware, and both have been linked to short term and long term negative effects on an infant.
WHEN: September 14, 2017, 12:00 p.m.- 1:00 p.m.
WHERE: The Duncan Center, Bradley Room - 5th floor
500 W. Loockerman St.
Dover, DE 19901
QUESTIONS: 302-744-4704

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 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.