SAVING LIVES: A Community’s Fight Against Drug Abuse

November 2023


As the Executive Director of the Sussex County Health Coalition, I’ve witnessed firsthand the devastating impact of drug use and abuse in our community. I’ve seen the statistics in the headlines, and most importantly, I’ve known people who have been deeply affected by this crisis. It’s not just numbers on a page; it’s lives, families, and futures torn apart.

Overdose deaths during the second quarter of 2023 compared to first quarter.
The number of overdose deaths during 2023 Q2 saw a decrease as compared to 2023 Q1.

These numbers tell a story of progress, challenges, and the critical need for intervention. While we have seen a decrease in the overall number of overdose deaths, we must remain vigilant in addressing this issue across all counties and combat the presence of lethal substances like fentanyl.


The question that often plagues our efforts is this: why, despite pouring resources into addressing drug abuse, do the statistics remain stubbornly high? It’s a multifaceted issue, but one aspect that isn’t working as effectively as it should is our collective commitment to look out for one another. We need to create a culture where saving lives becomes second nature.

One crucial step in this direction is making Naloxone, the life-saving antidote for opioid overdoses, the easy and accessible choice for anyone who might witness an overdose. The saying, “Yes, I can save a life,” should resonate with all of us. But how do we get people trained in using Naloxone?

The discomfort surrounding this topic often keeps people from taking the initiative. But discomfort doesn’t mean inability. We can empower individuals to overcome their fears and be willing to be trained in Naloxone administration, just as they would for CPR. Being ready and willing to help a fellow human being in a life-threatening situation is an act of profound compassion and courage.


Whether you’re a business owner, a concerned neighbor, a parent, or anyone in our community, and you want to get yourself or your fellow community  members trained, please get in touch with us. We’re here to assist and connect you with our providers to ensure you and your community arewell-prepared  to save lives in emergency situations. It’s important to note that Delaware has a Good Samaritan law, which means that if you act in good faith to save a life, you cannot be sued or prosecuted.

This endeavor requires the collective effort of our entire community. While overdose deaths may not yet be on the decline, the number of rescues is steadily rising. More people are overdosing, but they are also being saved. We must be prepared as a community to look out for one another, to be the local heroes in our own backyard.


The human angle is crucial in this fight. We all know or have known someone who has struggled with addiction and has faced the horrors of fentanyl and the dangerous intermingling and mixing of prescription drugs with illicit substances. This is the harsh reality that countless families in Sussex County grapple with every day.

As part of our “Delaware Goes Purple” initiative, which focuses on the “Yes, I can Save a Life” message, we are taking proactive steps to combat the opioid crisis. We are striving to create a culture where every individual understands that they have the power to make a difference to save a life.

In a world where uncertainty and fear often dominate the headlines, let us remember that within our community, we have the capacity to be the light in someone’s darkest hour. Through training, awareness, and compassion, we can turn the tide against drug abuse and overdose. It’s not just about statistics; it’s about saving lives and preserving the hope and potential of every person in Sussex County. Together, we can be the change we wish to see in our  community.

Peggy M. Geisler
Executive Director


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