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Delaware Goes Purple to Raise Awareness for Substance Abuse


By Graciela Rayome, guest contributor to the DHA Blog

Very few people in Delaware have not been personally impacted by the effects of substance abuse. Every 22 hours, someone in Delaware dies from an overdose; this year alone, 175 Delawareans have lost their lives to addiction. In order to fight this epidemic in Delaware, the Sussex County Health Coalition (SCHC) launched the Delaware Goes Purple project in September to raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding drug addiction.  

The SCHC was inspired to introduce Delaware Goes Purple by the Herren Project and by Project Purple, a nationwide initiative to raise awareness and reduce the stigma surrounding drug abuse. The Herren Project is a nonprofit founded by former NBA player Chris Herren, with the goals of helping families throughout the treatment process and reducing the stigma surrounding substance abuse. Chris Herren will be speaking on October 9th in Dover about his personal experiences with drug addiction and his path to recovery.

Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long is the Honorary Chair of Delaware Goes Purple, and has been a strong advocate for awareness campaigns for substance abuse prevention and behavioral health throughout Delaware. In addition to raising awareness, SCHC Board President Megan Williams has emphasized the importance of addiction prevention through health promotion and peer-to-peer youth mentoring.

The Sussex County Health Coalition and the Delaware Goes Purple team are asking Delawareans to Go Purple by displaying purple at work and at home. In addition, they invite everyone to participate in upcoming DE Goes Purple events. 

Upcoming events include :

  • October 9th: Prevention Starts With All, a speaking event sponsored by Lt. Governor Bethany Hall-Long at Delaware State University 

  • October 17th: Sussex County Health Coalition Project Purple quarterly meeting at the Georgetown CHEER Center

  • October 26th: 5k Costume Walk/Run at Delaware Tech Terry Campus 

  • October 27th: Jesus Love Temple Goes Purple

For more information about Delaware Goes Purple and other upcoming events, visit

Graciela Rayome is a senior at the University of Delaware, studying Public Policy and Public Health and is currently interning at the Delaware Healthcare Association.

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