Train Track Heroin Market

Discarded syringes that previously were found near near train tracks in Philadelphia.  Workers have since cleaned up the open-air heroin market that has thrived for decades along a set of train tracks a few miles outside the heart of Philadelphia. (AP Photo/Matt Rourke)

Eleven people have died from suspected drug overdoses over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend, the Delaware Health and Social Services said Monday, Nov. 27, 2017.  

Eight victims were from New Castle County while three were from Kent and Sussex counties.  The deaths involved both men and women ages 23 to 62, DHSS officials said.  

The 11 deaths bring the total number of suspected overdose deaths to 215 for 2017, and DHSS officials fear that total could grow higher as the holiday season gets underway.  

“We know that people who are suffering from addiction are vulnerable, and those vulnerabilities often become heightened during the holidays,” said DHSS Secretary Dr. Kara Odom Walker in a written statement. “The holidays can be stressful and may be a trigger point for people struggling with substance use disorder."

DHSS has launched a series of free addiction-related community sessions to help connect the community to services:  All community sessions are from 2 p.m. until 7 p.m. The schedule:

  • Kent County: Thursday, Nov. 30, Delaware Technical Community College, Terry Campus, Corporate Training Center, 100 Campus Drive, Dover.
  • New Castle County: Wednesday, Dec. 6, West End Neighborhood House, 710 N. Lincoln St., Wilmington.
  • Sussex County: Thursday, Dec. 14, Delaware Technical Community College, Owens Campus, Carter Partnership Center, 21179 College Drive, Georgetown.

Those who need help can also call DHSS’ 24/7 Crisis Services Hotline to be connected to trained crisis professionals who can discuss treatment options. In New Castle County, the number is 1.800.652.2929. In Kent and Sussex counties, the number is 1.800.345.6785. Individuals and families also can visit DHSS’ website for addiction treatment and recovery services in Delaware and nearby states.

In 2016, 308 people died in Delaware from overdoses, up 35 percent from the 228 people who died in 2015.

Amy Cherry is the Assistant News Director and an investigative journalist at WDEL. She joined WDEL's award-winning news team in 2010 from WBZ Newsradio 1030 in Boston and has received national accolades for reporting.