Of those who died of an overdose in Delaware in 2019, 40 percent had at least one prior non-fatal overdose, and some people had as many as nine, according to findings in the Delaware Drug Overdose Fatality Review Commission (DOFRC) annual report.
The commission studied a sample of 130 overdose fatalities and found 38 percent of the deceased were unhoused or had unstable housing, and 4 percent experienced one or more traumatic events, but only 8.5 percent received counseling.
The report made five policy recommendations.
First, the government should use the empirically-backed Housing First model to provide safe and secure housing for homeless or unstably housed individuals.
Second, licensed clinicians’ knowledge of trauma intervention services should be increased by expanding access to continuing education.
Third, the Prescription Monitoring Program should be enforced to establish a notification system to ensure prescribers are aware of patient nonfatal overdose(s).
Fourth, there should be improved outreach and follow-up for individuals receiving substance abuse related treatment.
Finally, governing entities should initiate substance abuse treatment services immediately following incarceration for inmates awaiting sentencing and provide intervention for those who do not get arrested or incarcerated.
“We need to bring everyone together – from health care providers and public officials to law enforcement and advocates – to confront this issue and reduce the harm that the epidemic has caused throughout our state,” Erin Booker, DOFRC chairwoman, said.