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Delaware Health and Social Services forms new partnership to help families of substance abusers


The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services launched a new partnership to combat the opioid crisis in the First State.

DHSS is working with the Partnership for Drug-Free Kids to help families feel comfortable having tough conversations with loved ones battling substance abuse.


The two organizations will provide digital resources, such as a help and support website, as well as one-on-one support through a dedicated helpline.  

Elizabeth Romero, Director of the Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health for DHSS, says this network is as much for families as it is for those dealing with substance abuse.

“Families should not feel alone. In this journey around substance use disorder, they, too, matter as much as the loved one that they’re trying to help and we need them to know that them seeking help for themselves should not be something that they are afraid to do”, Romero said.

The website can also connect families to a specialist via text, email, or Facebook messenger. After listening to the family’s story, a specialist will propose a personalized course of action, offering the best tools and resources to help.

Romero says, “This provides an evidence based resource in which families can get 5 to 6 peer coaching sessions to actually give them tools, like motivational interviewing, so that they can talk to their loved one.”

She adds that 25 families have already completed a comprehensive two-and-a-half day training in order to become peer coaches, with more attending future sessions.

Last year, over 400 Delawareans lost their lives to an overdose - a 16 percent increase from 2017 when Delaware ranked sixth in the nation for drug overdose deaths.

The link to the website is

The Helpline number is 855-DRUG-FREE.


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