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News Confronting Delaware's death-a-day opioid crisis

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Local experts team up with Front Page & Science Cafes to help provide answers
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Every day, someone dies because of Delaware's opioid crisis, and dozens more suffer overdoses. 

Adding to that misery, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention estimates that for every person who overdoses, there are 240 more who need some kind of support for mental health and addiction. In Delaware, where 345 people died from drug overdoses last year, that means 82,800 others need help, according to the CDC's treatment model.

About 70 people attended a joint Front Page Cafe and Science Cafe on Oct. 30 in the Trabant Lounge to take a deeper look at the problem.

If you couldn't be there, you can still listen in, thanks to a partnership with Delaware Public Media. The conversation was recorded for an edition of The Green, an open-air meeting place for Delawareans to discuss events, consider issues and share ideas. You can listen to the full evening here. 

Dr. Tammy Anderson

​Dr. Tammy Anderson

The conversation was led by Dr. Tammy Anderson, a professor in UD's Department of Sociology & Criminal Justice and a nationally recognized researcher in the area of drugs and addiction, and investigative reporter Brittany Horn, who covers the epidemic for the News Journal.

Anderson, the associate director of the Center for Drug and Health Studies, announced the launch of a mapping tool to research where most overdose deaths occur. The tool reveals that overdose deaths happen more often in the area of North Jackson and West Seventh streets in Wilmington's Hilltop and Cool Spring neighborhoods than anywhere else in the state, according to Horn's story on the mapping tool.

The data, which ranges from 2013 to 2017, can be searched by Census tract, zip code, house district or county. The results provide demographics in addition to the overdose death rate.

The Delaware Opioid Metric Intelligence Project is one of several interactive substance consumption maps at the center, along with a variety of resources.

Reporter Brittany Horn

​Reporter Brittany Horn

Horn spoke to the importance of not only reporting the human and social cost of the opioid crisis but also using scientific research to inform news coverage. 

Up until recently, Horn acknowledged, the national media narrative considered  drug users to be "very bad people." Now, however, more people are realizing that addiction is a disease, not a choice. As part of her reporting, Horn said, she has met many families and others affected by the crisis, and "their stories are heart-wrenching and hopeful." 

To get help

The Collegiate Recovery Community is support based and student oriented. The CRC office, in the Student Wellness and Health Promotion building at 231 S College Ave., welcomes drop-in visits to its weekly meetings at 1:30 Tuesday. Students can schedule a confidential counseling session by calling 302-831-3457. 

StatewideHelpisHereDE.com, created by the state of Delaware in response to the opioid epidemic, has information and resources on prevention, addiction and treatment, including contact information, eligibility, services and accepted insurance at facilities across state.



The Green airs at 3 and 7 p.m. Friday and 2 p.m. Sunday on WMPH 91.7 in Wilmington and WDDE 91.1 in Dover. Delaware Public Media is always online at delawarepublic.org

Front Page Cafe is  a speaker series from the Journalism Program, and Science Cafes are hosted by the Center for Science, Ethics, and Public Policy. The opioid event was co-sponsored by the Department of Sociology and Criminal Justice, the Center for Drug & Health Studies, the Partnership for Healthy Communities and Delaware Humanities. We also thank The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation for its generous support of this initiative and the Pulitzer Prizes for their partnership.

If you'd like to join us at a future Front Page Cafe, we'd be delighted to add you to our mailing list. Send your email address to The Journalism Program.  Front Page Cafes are always free and open to the public, and refreshments are always served.

Story published on 11/1/2018 ; last modified on
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​Every day, a Delaware resident dies from an opioid overdose. The epidemic's toll, however, is much higher. Local experts offer answers at joint Front Page Cafe and Science Cafe.

11/1/2018
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Confronting Delaware's death-a-day opioid crisis
 
  • The Journalism Program
  • 207 Memorial Hall
  • University of Delaware
  • Newark, DE 19716, USA
  • 302-831-3870
  • journalism@udel.edu