Delaware's Opioid Use Disorder Response: Policy and Legal Action

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Center for Community Research & Service, Biden School of Public Policy & Administration, University of Delaware
The opioid epidenic annually claims tens of thousands of lives across the United States and hundreds of lives in Delaware. Delaware had a record 515 fatal overdoses in 2021. This number will almost certainly get surpassed in 2022, given that monthly numbers of suspected overdose fatalities are continuing to increase through January 2023. In 2021, 83% of these fatalities involved the synthetic opioid fentanyl. Despite legal and legislative efforts to control the use of opioids, the crisis continues to worsen. In 2021, Delaware had the third highest overdose fatality rate in the nation, and an opioid overdose death rate of 42.4 per 100,000 Delaware residents, almost double the national average of 24.4. This text summarizes the current state of opioids in Delaware, as well as legislative and legal efforts made by the State of Delaware to mitigate and prevent the painful impacts of this health crisis.