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Delaware's Opioid Epidemic, Teen Drug Use, Alcohol and Marijuana Laws and Resources

This guide will go over some of the most prevalent addiction problems in Delaware. Prescription opioid abuse and the heroin epidemic. We will go over statistics regarding use among adults and teens and what exactly the state is doing to help find a resolution to this huge problem. We will provide resources that will make it easier to find help. This guide will also cover Delaware alcohol laws, marijuana laws, as well as information and resources for DUI charges. If you are in immediate need of help for addiction or alcoholism in Delaware, please visit Delaware medical detox locator.

Opioid Epidemic

The United States is currently in the middle of an opioid epidemic. Last year over 60,000 people lost their lives due to a drug-related overdose, that means more US citizens died due to drug use in 2017 than the entire Vietnam War. Delaware has been affected exceptionally hard by this devastating drug problem. The number of overdoses deaths continues to rise year by year, a vast majority of these deaths involves some kind of opioid.

Fentanyl and carfentanil, both are power synthetic opioids, can be directly linked to a large amount of these opioid-related overdoses. These drugs are now commonly being combined with drugs like heroin to increase its potency. These substances can be up to 10,000x stronger than heroin, just a match head size amount of carfentanil can cause a fatal overdose.

Opioid Addiction Statistics

Narcan is used to reverse the effects of an overdose, it has been used to save thousands of lives. This life-saving drug is no match for the potency of fentanyl and carfentanil. The huge increase in heroin use can be directly attributed to the rise of prescription opiates in the mid-late 2000’s. OxyContin, codeine, Percocet and Opana were some of the most commonly prescribed medications during the pill boom. Doctors were writing prescriptions for different opioid medications for people struggling with various levels of pain management issues. Some doctors were writing these prescriptions for valid reasons, others to benefit themselves financially. Even those who were prescribed these pills to help them with a real problem were falling victim to the pills.

Prolonged use of any prescription opioid medication can lead to physical and mental dependence.
Delaware ranks first for the most amount of high-dose opioid pain reliever prescriptions in the country, with 8.8 prescriptions per 100 people. It ranks second for long-acting/extended-release opioid pain relievers with 217 prescriptions per 100 people. With 90.8 opioid pain reliever prescriptions per 100 persons and 41.5 benzo prescriptions per 100 persons. Delaware is clearly in the midst of a prescription crisis. There is no need and no reason for this amount of opiate prescriptions to exists anywhere.

Prescribing an Addiction

As more and more prescriptions were written, the pills made their way onto the streets. They became increasingly popular over the next few years. As new laws and guidelines were put in place, the number of opioid prescriptions plummeted. There was still a huge demand for these medications. A huge amount of people had become physically dependant on these drugs and needed them to function on a daily basis. The price of these pills skyrocketed as the supply dwindled and the demand grew. A large majority of the active users turned to heroin, a cheaper and more readily available alternative to prescription opiates. More than 70% of current heroin users report that they used prescription pills before they ever tried heroin. A vast majority of them say they would’ve never tried heroin if it wasn’t for prescription opiates. A lot of experts blame the opioid crisis on doctors and large pharmaceutical companies who saw financial gains from prescribing these highly addictive pills

According to a information provided by the CDC (Center for Disease Control) and SAMHSA (Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration) WalletHub created a report outlining the current drug use statistics in the state. Delaware’s overdose deaths involving fentanyl have more than doubled from 2015-2016. There were 282 drug overdose deaths in Delaware in 2016, a large majority of these deaths can be directly linked to prescription opiates and heroin use.

Prescription Drug Monitoring & Teen Use

The Delaware Prescription Drug Monitoring Program (PMP) authorizes the Office of Controlled Substances (OCS) in the Delaware Division of Professional Regulation to establish, maintain and monitor the PMP. The PMP was designed to reduce the misuse and abuse or controlled and dangerous substances in the state and to promote professional practice and high-quality patient care. The PMP is a system that gathers information on all controlled substances classified as schedules II-V. These dangerous prescriptions have a high risk for abuse and misuse, drugs like Percocet, Xanax and codeine all are monitored closely.

"Prescribers in the state of Delaware must report prescription data to the PMP daily"

Using the MP website and applications, pharmacies and prescribers in the state of Delaware must report prescription data to the PMP daily. This helps prevent people from doctor shopping a term used to visit multiple doctors within a short period of time with the goal to obtain a large number of prescription drugs for personal use or for resale. Prescribers and dispensers can obtain immediate access to an online report that gives them information regarding their patient’s controlled substance prescription history.

The following information was provided by The Office of Adolescent Health and the US Department of Health & Human Services. 15% of high school students report that they drank alcohol for the first time before they were over the age of 13. 31% of high school students state they had at least one drink of alcohol within the past 30 days, while 15% said they had 5 or more drinks within a short period of time within the past 30 days. A good portion of these students admitted they got the alcohol from someone else, 40% to be exact.

"5% of adolescents aged 12-17 reported using painkillers for non-medical reasons."

6% of students also reported that they drove a car after drinking alcohol at least one time, while 17% stated they were in a car with another student driving who had been drinking.
Marijuana has always been popular among teenagers, Delaware is no exception. As a matter of fact, 41% of students report that they have used marijuana, this is higher than the national average of 39%. 3% of students report that they have sniffed glue or used other inhalants, 4% admitted to trying cocaine. 5% of adolescents aged 12-17 reported using painkillers for non-medical reasons.

Delaware Addiction Resources

These links have all been made available to you by the state of Delaware and the US Government. They will help you find important resources, information about drug addiction, opioid abuse, prescription drug monitoring, the heroin epidemic, statistics, free hotlines and local rehabs/outreach centers. These resources can be very helpful to those who are currently struggling or are recovering from drug addiction or alcoholism. Millions of fo lives have been affected throughout the United States due to opiate use and abuse. Learn what to do to get help and find a better way of life.

Types of Medical Detox Centers in Delaware

Find a Medical Detox by City

There is a huge need for medical detox centers in Delaware. The following resources will help you find nearby detox centers. If you do not see a nearby town or city listed, feel free to contact us for more assistance. No one should ever have to overcome drug addiction and/or alcoholism alone. Entering a detox center and successfully completing it will help increase the client's chance of long-term recovery substantially.

Delaware Alcohol Laws

You must be over the age of 21 to purchase alcohol in Delaware. Beer, wine and liquor can only be purchased at liquor stores during the following times: Monday to Saturday: 9:00 am to 1:00 am Sunday: 12:00 pm to 8:00 pm. Delaware alcohol laws permit adults 19 years or older to serve alcohol for on-premises drinking. They must be at least 21 to tend bar. The same for selling alcohol for drinking off-site.

"It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drive if they have a BAC higher than 0.02."

It is legal for persons under the age of 21 to consume alcohol as long as they are with members of their family. The family members must be the ones who provide the alcohol, the person under 21 must drink it in the “private home of any of said members.” The law does not exactly define what a “family.” is, it does not state a minimum age of those members. It is illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to drive if they have a BAC higher than 0.02.

Delaware alcohol laws prohibit driving with a blood alcohol concentration (BAC) over 0.08 percent, if the driver's BAC is above this they will be charged with a DUI. Police can still arrest drivers for a DUI even if their BAC is under 0.08%. For example, if the driver has any illegal substances in the car, that evidence is sufficient enough to charge the driver with DUI. The driver cannot consume alcohol while behind the wheel, but passengers may consume alcohol. When facing the first DUI conviction a driver’s license suspension for 12 to 24 months will occur. As well as imprisonment for up to six months and fines up to $1,150. The driver must also install an ignition interlock device on the vehicle at their expense.

"Imprisonment for up to six months and fines up to $1,150"

The penalties for a second conviction get more serious. The driver will have their license revoked for 20 to 60 months, face imprisonment for 60 days to 18 months and a fine up to $2,300. The state also requires the installation of an ignition interlock device, once again at the driver’s expense. Drivers are not required to submit to a breathalyzer test, their right to refuse is granted by the U.S. Constitution. The state punishes those who refuse. The punishment for declining the test is a driver’s license revocation for one year and the risk of fines and jail time.

Delaware Marijuana Laws

Marijuana laws have changed a bit over the past few years. A few new amendments have been put into effect. Making it a civil penalty rather than a criminal one for possessing certain amounts of the drug.

  • Under 1 ounce (28 grams) is a civil penalty and comes with a fine up to $100 
  • Between 28 to 175 grams is a misdemeanor. Comes with a  fine up to $575 and up to 3 months in jail 
  • Between 175 to 1,500 grams is a felony. This can lead to up to 3 years in prison with a fine at the discretion of the court 
  • Between 1,500 to 3,000 is a felony. Up to 5 years in prison with a fine at the discretion of the court
  • Between 3,000 to 4,000 grams is obviously a felony. Up to 8 years in prison with a fine at the discretion of the court 
  • Between 4,000 to 5,000 grams is once again a felony. Up to 15 years in prison with a fine at the discretion of the court 
  • Over 5,000 grams is a felony. Up to 3 years in prison with a mandatory minimum sentence of up to 25 years in prison.

The Delaware Medical Marijuana Act strictly dictates how much cannabis patients can possess. In Delaware, residents with a prescription can possess up to six ounces at one time. Qualifying patients under the age of 18 may not possess the cannabis plant itself. They are only allowed to have cannabis oil, which can have no more than 7% THC with no less than 15% CBD.