Health officials: Eight people dead after suspected overdoses in Del.


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Overdose deaths continue to rise after Delaware officials say eight people have died from suspected overdoses in four days.

The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS) says eight deaths beginning last Friday have doubled the total number of deaths from suspected overdoses this month. Officials say the deaths happened in all three counties, to men and women, and to people in their 20s to those in their 50s. Since the start of the year, DHSS reports that the total number of deaths from suspected overdoses reported by DFS is 167. 

"If you are in active use, we urge you to seek treatment immediately. "If you continue to use substances, have the overdose-reversing medication naloxone with you because the risk for death is increased. Our first priority is to reduce harm and save lives. From there, we can connect people to the treatment options that will work best for them,"  says Elizabeth Romero, director of DHSS' Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. 

Health officials say Naloxone, an overdose-reversing medication, is available at many Delaware pharmacies without a prescription, or by attending community trainings through Brandywine Counseling and Community Services. An upcoming community training is set for 6:00 PM on August 27 at Abundant Life Christian Church in Laurel. The address is 28714 Seaford Road.

Officials say about 61 percent of the overdose deaths in Delaware involved fentanyl and 40 percent involved heroin in 2017. Delaware Health officials report that 345 people died from overdoses last year. If individuals see someone overdosing, they should call 911. According to officials, people who call 911 to report an overdose and the person in medical distress cannot be arrested for low-level drug crimes under Delaware's Good Samaritan Law. 

 For more information on addiction treatment and recovery, call the 24/7 Crisis Services Hotline in Kent and Sussex counties at 1-800-345-6785 or click here.

Categories: Delaware, Local News