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DHSS Press Release

Molly Magarik, Secretary
Jill Fredel, Director of Communications
302-255-9047, Cell 302-357-7498

DPH Media Contact:
Tim Turane

Date: November 29, 2022


DOVER, DE (Nov. 29, 2022) - The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH) announces the launch of a multimedia fentanyl campaign that targets youth, ages 14 through 25. This campaign aims to inform youth about what fentanyl is and that fentanyl can be found in various illicit drugs. This campaign highlights the risk of experimental drug use and the evolving drug market. National research on drug use in the U.S. demonstrates that many substance users do not think they are at-risk for a drug overdose. Many youths believe that fentanyl is an isolated issue or located within certain communities. This campaign empowers individuals to have control over their decisions by reducing the gaps in knowledge around fentanyl. Counterfeit prescription drugs laced with fentanyl have been sold through social media. This campaign utilizes these social media outlets to educate youth on the presence of fentanyl.

Fentanyl remains the deadliest drug threat facing this country. It is a highly addictive synthetic opioid that is 50 times more potent than heroin and 100 times more potent than morphine. Fentanyl is found in all 50 states. Drug traffickers are mixing it with other types of drugs, in powder and pill form, to drive addiction and attract repeat buyers. It can be found in any illicit drug, including heroin, cocaine and fake/manufactured prescription pills (sold on the street as Adderall, Xanax, oxy, etc.)

Provisional drug overdose data for 2021 from the CDC estimates that there were over 100,000 deaths in the United States. This was a 15% increase from 2020. Included in this press release is data from the State Unintentional Drug Overdose Reporting System demonstrating polysubstance use in drug overdose deaths. The total number of drug overdose deaths in Delaware continues to increase. There was a 14% increase from 2020 to 2021 of overdose deaths in Delaware, 447 and 510 respectively. In 2021, fentanyl was listed as the main cause of death in 83.5% of the overdose deaths in Delaware. Cocaine averages 40% of all drug overdoses annually. The majority of those that die from an overdose have multiple drugs in their system at the time of an overdose.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction in Delaware, call the DHSS 24/7 Crisis Hotline to be connected to treatment and recovery options. In New Castle County, call 1-800-652-2929. Or in Kent and Sussex counties, call 1-800-345-6785.

For free 24/7 counseling, coaching, and support, as well as links to mental health, addiction, and crisis services call the Delaware Hope Line at 1-833-9-HOPEDE. To search for treatment and recovery services in Delaware or nearby states, visit

Delaware Health and Social Services is committed to improving the quality of the lives of Delaware's citizens by promoting health and well-being, fostering self-sufficiency, and protecting vulnerable populations.