Delaware.gov Logo
Delaware.gov Logo Text

Menu

Drug Overdose Deaths

Overview

Drug overdose deaths continue to increase in Delaware. In 2020, there were 436 drug overdose deaths. Based on the data from the Delaware Health Statistics Center (DHSC), the average increase in drug overdose death count is 18% every year from 2012 to 2020. From the Division of Forensic Science (DFS), the suspected drug overdose death count showed a monthly average increase of 18% from November 2022 to January 2023.

Substance Use Disorder Support

Looking for substance abuse treatment?

Delaware has resources available

Key Data

Drug Overdose Deaths

Data are current as of 2024

Most recent update: 5/13/2024

Suspected drug overdose deaths are identified through initial Forensic Investigator's impressions, witness interviews, and scene evidence. Suspected drug overdose deaths provide important information as an early notification of drug overdose deaths in Delaware. The suspected drug overdose death count remains the same after all quality assurance activities are conducted by DFS and DPH within a month of the occurrence. Suspected drug overdose deaths can become confirmed as a drug overdose death as more information becomes available. Suspected drug overdose death counts are considered an undercount of drug overdose deaths. They are also based upon death location as residency information may not immediately be available.

Drug overdose deaths are finalized only after the completion of the investigation, toxicology testing, autopsy, documentation of medical history, medical review, and coding of the causes of death by the National Center for Health Statistics at CDC. The process to finalize a drug overdose death can take one to two years after the occurrence. The overdose death data are compiled and finalized by the Delaware Health Statistics Center. Drug overdose death reporting is by Delaware residence.

Substance Use Disorder Support

Treatment Providers and Naloxone Distribution Centers

Please see the Help is Here – Treatment & Recovery website to learn where treatment centers are located.

Help is Here Delaware

Suspected Drug Overdose Deaths


Data are current as of 5/9/2024

Last updated: 5/13/2024

The cumulative number of suspected drug overdose deaths occurring in Delaware is reflected in the year-to-date count beginning in 2023. Historical, monthly suspected drug overdose deaths are provided, while the current year is updated as it becomes available. Data, provided by the Delaware Division of Forensic Science, are analyzed weekly from Friday to Thursday, and reported the following Friday. Importantly, because these data are suspected and not confirmed, they are subject to change as further investigations are conducted.

Delaware

Suspected Drug Overdose Deaths (Year to Date)

(5/3/2024 - 5/9/2024)

132
deaths
Delaware

Percentage change (compared to last month)March 2024 to April 2024

27% decrease
Delaware

Percentage change (compared to same month last year)April 2023 to April 2024

31% decrease
Delaware

Suspected Drug Overdose Deaths in Delaware (By Month)

Year to Date Counter

Cumulative count of suspected drug overdose deaths occurring in Delaware from January 1, 2023 to the current date of reporting. Suspected overdose deaths provided by the Delaware's Division of Forensic Science are analyzed on a weekly basis and reported on Fridays for each week ranging Friday to Thursday.

Percentage change between two consecutive months

Percentage change is calculated using the number of suspected overdose deaths from the most recent month of data and from the previous month.

Percentage change between same month from two consecutive years

Percentage change is calculated using the number of suspected drug overdose deaths from the most recent month of data and from the same month of the previous year.

Suspected drug overdose time series

Monthly suspected overdose deaths are compared to the previous year's monthly suspected overdose deaths over time. Data for the entirety of 2022 is provided for context, while data for 2023 is updated as it becomes available at the end of each month. Death rates are computed using the latest population estimates from the Delaware Population Consortium and age-adjusted to the 2000 U.S. Standard Population.

Data Sources
  • Suspected Delaware Drug Overdose Deaths

    Citation: Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Division of Forensic Science, https://forensics.delaware.gov/about/index.shtml?dc=aboutUs

Drug Overdose Deaths in Delaware Residents


Data are current as of 2020

Last updated: 2/22/2023

Although the death certificate data is a valuable source of drug overdose death data, it is not available until after the end of the calendar year and the completion of reviews by CDC and DHSC. Death certificate data and age-adjusted drug overdose death rates are provided from 2011 to 2020 by the Delaware Health Statistics Center.

Delaware

Drug Overdose Deaths in Delaware Residents (Age Adjusted Rate)

What is the difference between an age-adjusted rate and a crude rate?

2020

46.9
age-adjusted rate per 100,000 residents
Loading...

Count

2020

436
people

Percentage change

2011 to 2020

170% increase

Drug Overdose Deaths in Delaware Residents

The causes of death are classified using the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth and Tenth Revisions (ICD-9 and ICD-10). Drug overdose deaths are identified using the underlying cause of death codes X40-X44 (unintentional), X60-X64 (suicide), X85 (homicide), and Y10-Y14 (undetermined). Death rates are age-adjusted to the 2000 U.S. Standard Population and using the latest population estimates from the Delaware Population Consortium.

Investigate Over Time

Drug Overdose Deaths in Delaware (by year)

Most recent update: 5/13/2024

and

Drug Overdose Deaths in Delaware Residents

Age-adjusted rate per 100,000 residents

Why are stratifications not provided in suspected drug overdose death data?

Stratifications variable content is not yet available. Suspected drug overdose deaths are preliminary and subject to change as more information becomes available. Suspected death counts provided here should be considered as an early indicator of potentially changing trends.

Data Sources
  • Mortality

    Citation: Delaware Department of Health and Social Services, Division of Public Health, Delaware Health Statistics Center. 2011-2020. Delaware Annual Vital Statistics Report.

  • Suspected Delaware Drug Overdose Deaths

    Citation: Delaware Department of Safety and Homeland Security, Division of Forensic Science, https://forensics.delaware.gov/about/index.shtml?dc=aboutUs

Additional Information

Drug Overdose Deaths in Delaware

Resources


Help is Here Delaware

Prevention, Addiction, Treatment, and Recovery resources for Delaware

NSC Memorial Site

Memorial map to overdose decedents

Healthy Homes Prescription Drop Off Locations

All permanent prescription drop-off locations in Delaware

Where to obtain naloxone

National Map of Naloxone Locations

Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health

The Delaware Division of Substance Abuse and Mental Health (DSAMH) is located in the Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS). DSAMH serves the adult (age 18 and older) population in need of publicly funded behavioral health services. DSAMH is organized into three operating units. These are the Delaware Psychiatric Center (DPC) and a variety of community-based Mental Health and Substance Abuse Treatment Programs.

Privacy


In releasing this information, Delaware aims to provide information that can be helpful to local communities as they work to improve public health. However, the protection of the confidentiality of our citizens is of paramount importance. To that end, counts of less than 11 are not presented, and the rate is not calculated for counts of less than 20. An outside expert has reviewed the platform to ensure it complies with the HIPAA privacy rule (45 CFR 164.§514(b)).