Spike in heroin overdoses leads to one death in western Sussex

Delaware State Police and Public Health officials have reported a spike in heroin overdoses in Sussex County that led to one death.

Sergeant Richard D. Bratz, director of the Public Information Office for the Delaware State Police reported that a significant spike of heroin overdoses have occurred over the past several days in Sussex.

Michael Barbieri, director of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health, alerted treatment providers statewide of the surge in overdoses in western Sussex.

Hospitals and urgent care centers were notified of the increase by the Division of Public Health’s Emergency Medical Services, which oversees the state’s paramedic service.

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Heroin tied to 4 deaths in 5-hour period in New Castle County

EMS responded to seven reported overdoses in a 24-hour period beginning Friday in the Seaford and Laurel areas. In several of the cases, paramedics used naloxone, the overdose-reversing medication, to save the individual’s life before transporting each person to the hospital. Late last month, suspected heroin overdoses were blamed for four deaths in a five-hour period in New Castle County. (See story above)

“This spike in overdoses is in alarming,” said Dr. Kara Odom Walker, a family physician and secretary for the Department of Health and Social Services.

“Even one use of heroin or another opioid can end a life. For people in active use and their families, please convince your loved ones to seek treatment for their addiction or keep naloxone in your home. Addiction is a disease and treatment does work. Our staff at the DHSS Crisis Helpline will listen, and they will connect you to treatment options.”

In 2016, 308 people died from overdoses in Delaware, almost triple the number who died in traffic accidents. In 2015, 228 people died from overdoses in Delaware, with 222 overdoses deaths reported in 2014.

Prevention, treatment and recovery information and resources in Delaware and nearby states also are available on DHSS’ www.HelpIsHereDE.com website.

DHSS will initiate a community outreach campaign in May that will include an unveiling of the revamped website, materials for medical providers on prescribing pain medications, and information on how to screen patients and connect them with addiction treatment resources, as well as materials on preventing substance exposure in infants.

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