Current Suspected Overdose Deaths in Delaware for 2023: Get Help Now!

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DHSS Press Release

Molly Magarik, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498

DPH Media Contact:
Jennifer Brestel
Cell 302-612-6223

Date: November 20, 2021


NEWARK, DE (Nov. 20, 2021) - The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) has partnered with the state's construction industry to drive down the number of drug overdose deaths in Delaware. In partnership with Bancroft Construction, the DPH Office of Health Crisis Response held a Narcan distribution event Thursday, Nov. 18, for Bancroft workers at the University of Delaware FinTech job site.

This partnership also has allowed DPH to provide construction supervisors with training about overdose, the stigma associated with addiction, and Narcan administration for over 20 Bancroft Construction supervisors. The distribution event was the first time DPH was able to get Narcan directly into the hands of the workers who are at risk of overdose or who may find themselves in a life-saving position to help others.

"This was a small step in the right direction to help combat drug overdose deaths," said Kate Brookins, Director of the DPH Office of Health Crisis Response. "The overdose epidemic is a nationwide public health emergency that impacts all of our communities in Delaware, but the construction industry is particularly hard-hit."

There were 447 drug overdose deaths across the state in 2020, according to the Delaware Division of Forensic Science. As of 2019, Delaware had the second-highest rate of drug overdose deaths in the country, with 48 deaths per 100,000 people, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The DPH Drug Overdose Mortality Surveillance Report released in August 2019 showed 23% of overdose deaths in 2017 were identified as working in the construction industry. The top two occupational industries of jobs held by males who died of a drug overdose were construction (36%) and the installation, maintenance, and repair industry (9.1%; includes mechanics, HVAC repair, engine repair, maintenance, and others).

To date, the Office of Health Crisis Response has partnered with Bancroft and other major construction companies and groups to offer training about the stigma associated with addiction and administering Narcan. The Office of is also in the process of developing a toolkit specifically geared toward individuals in this industry to better assist organizations in overdose awareness and prevention.

Narcan is the brand name of naloxone, a medication that can reverse the effects of opioids in an overdose situation and can potentially save a life. People who witness an overdose should also call 9-1-1 and wait for medical help to arrive.

Narcan is available at most pharmacies in Delaware through a standing order, and a prescription from an individual's doctor is not needed. Individuals can also visit to receive overdose training and Narcan through the mail, or they can visit one of the Department of Health and Social Services' Bridge Clinics to get a free Narcan kit. The public is encouraged to download the free OpiRescue DE smartphone app, which provides step-by-step instructions on how to start an overdose rescue and locations of pharmacies that carry naloxone.

If you or a loved one is struggling with substance use disorder, call DHSS' Delaware Hope Line to be connected to trained crisis professionals who can discuss treatment options at 1-833-9-HOPEDE (1-833-946-7333). Individuals and families also can visit DHSS' website,, to find addiction treatment and recovery services in Delaware or nearby states.

Anyone who is deaf, hard of hearing, Deaf-Blind or speech disabled can contact DPH by dialing 711 first using specialized devices (i.e. TTY, TeleBraille, voice devices). The 711 service is free and to learn more about how it works, please visit

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.