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State officials confirm overdose deaths increased in 2018

Delaware Public Media

Delaware’s overdose rate rose for the sixth year in a row last year, confirming what health officials suspected.

The state’s Division of Forensic Science released its annual report Wednesday. It says 400 people are confirmed to have died in Delaware from a drug overdose in 2018.


That’s 55 more than reported in 2017.


About two-thirds of last year’s overdose deaths were in New Castle County.


The report also shows a spike in the number of deaths involving the synthetic opioid fentanyl. While each case may involve multiple substances, fentanyl was found in 296 of the state’s overdose deaths last year compared with 210 in 2017.


Fentanyl also came up more than any other substance in postpartum drug screenings. 35% of all mothers who tested positive for substances after giving birth came up positive for fentanyl.


Delaware’s Department of Health and Social Services is reporting 84 suspected overdose deaths so far this year.