DHSS Press Release


Date: August 2, 2023


DOVER, Del. (August 2, 2023) – The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH), in collaboration with the Delaware Division of Professional Regulation (DPR), announces important updates to the Mental Health and Substance Use Disorder section of the My Healthy Community (MHC) Dashboard.

These updates are located within this section’s Prescription Monitoring Program (PMP) tab and present trends in prescription drug dispensing in Delaware. The most notable update to the PMP page is a color-coded matrix to identify communities that may be at higher risk of Opioid Use Disorder (OUD). The rate of prescriptions for high dose (greater than or equal to 90 Morphine Milligram Equivalents [MME]) and extended-release opioids are indicators of a high need for treatment. The key indicators available on the site include:

  • Prescription opioids
  • High-dose opioids
  • Long-acting/extended-release opioids
  • Benzodiazepines filled in the same month as an opioid
  • Cash paid opioid prescriptions
  • Opioid prescriptions paid by Medicaid
  • Opioid partial agonist prescriptions

These indicators are shown by count and rate of prescriptions and include data on the number of people filling those prescriptions. Trend data for filled prescriptions indicate a steady decline in dispensed opioids and an increase in OUD treatment medications.

Although the rates of filled opioids has declined 29% from 2006 to 2019 in the U.S., Delaware is higher than any other state in the United States with high-dosage (greater than or equal to 90 MME) opioid prescription fill rate at 7.8 prescriptions per 100 persons and long-acting/extended-release opioids at a rate of 10.1 prescriptions per 100 persons, according to Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s 2019 Annual Surveillance Report on Drug-Related Outcomes. In 2020, Delaware ranked third highest among all states in drug overdose death rates with a rate of 47.3 per 100,000 population (CDC, 2021).

In November 2022, CDC released the CDC Clinical Practice Guideline for Prescribing Opioids for Pain. This updated report from the 2016 Guidelines includes more information on acute pain management and alternatives to opioids for pain. DPH has continued to educate physicians and pharmacists on best practices for pain management. This includes offering one-on-one education and continuing education opportunities and working with Delaware providers to create educational materials for providers and patients. DPH has compiled an inventory of Delaware-specific, evidence-based pain management resources for prescribers and dispensers at Prescription Medications | Help is Here Delaware.

The MHC data platform presents indicators of health outcomes to the public and has implemented an innovative methodology to facilitate the presentation of health, demographic and social determinant data in Delaware. The software provides an extensible framework for integrating data sets, generating analyses and visualizations, and managing both public and internal reports. The CDC’s Overdose Data to Action grant funded the updates to this portion of the dashboard and funds the Delaware PMP. DPH worked with the Division of Professional Regulation’s Office of Controlled Substances to make PMP data publicly available for these updates.

If you or a loved one is struggling with addiction in Delaware, call 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 833-9-HOPEDE. To search online for treatment and recovery services in Delaware or nearby states, visit HelpIsHereDE.com.

The Delaware Division of Public Health (DPH), a division of the Delaware Department of Health and Social Services (DHSS), is a nationally accredited public health agency recognized by the Public Health Accreditation Board for its outstanding dedication to driving change through innovation.

Anyone who is deaf, hard of hearing, Deaf-Blind or speech disabled can contact DPH by dialing 711 first using specialized devices (i.e. TTY, TeleBraille, voice devices). The 711 service is free and to learn more about how it works, please visit delawarerelay.com.

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.