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People struggling with addiction urged to get treatment during holiday season

Delaware Public Media

People struggling with addiction are being urged to connect with treatment this holiday season.

The state’s Division of Health and Social Services says Delaware, like much of country, is facing a severe opioid crisis.


Since Thanksgiving there have been 15 overdose deaths in the First State. Four occurred just last week in New Castle County during a two-hour time frame. Eleven people overdosed and died in New Castle County during the Thanksgiving weekend and three others overdosed and died in Kent and Sussex Counties during the Thanksgiving holiday weekend.


Elizabeth Romero is the director of DHSS’s Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health. She says not only are more people using but they are overdosing at alarming rates. And she notes that those overdose numbers can spike at this time of year.

“So in the holidays, there’s many triggers and stressful times that occur as folks are engaging with family members or trying to deal with all of the pressures that come. So we just want everyone to be aware that help is here in Delaware,” says Romero.


Romero adds that this is also a time of year when more people may seek assistance.


“We actually see an increase in admissions and people asking to be admitted into substance abuse programs starting as a New Year’s resolution," said Romero. "So, we look at this as an opportunity to both help you look at how you can make it through the holidays, but also for those that are ready to make a new start on January 1, to be able to get access to the treatment that they need.

Romero adds the Division of Public Health is running special holiday-themed digital advertising through New Year’s Day on Facebook, Instagram and various websites. The ads encourage those struggling with addiction to “Picture a Holiday Without Addiction” and links with


Romero also encourages individuals in need of help to see a medical provider immediately or call D-H-S-S’s 24/7 Crisis Services Hotline to be connected to trained crisis professionals who can discuss treatment options. In New Castle County, the number is 1-800-652-2929. In Kent and Sussex Counties, the number is 1-800-345-6785.



Kelli Steele has over 30 years of experience covering news in Delaware, Baltimore, Winchester, Virginia, Phoenix, Arizona and San Diego, California.