Perhaps the best option to start is to call the state's toll free crisis line.

Taking that first step on the road to recovery is a challenge. Many unknowns await, but this step-by-step guide is designed to help you through the process or, if you are the loved one of someone going through addiction recovery, may help you understand everything that is involved.

Once you have decided to seek help, many police departments have partnered with recovery centers to get you in the door. Alternatively, several recovery centers allow you to simply walk in.

But perhaps the best option to start is to call the state’s toll free crisis line.

Crisis Line/HelpIsHereDE

The state operates a website called It contains information on addiction, on treatment programs available throughout the state and help through the recovery process.

The state also operates a 24/7 crisis line that people can call when they decide they want treatment. The number for northern Delaware is 800-652-2929, and 800-345-6785 for southern Delaware.

When you call, the counselor will try to get as much information as possible in order to help you determine the correct path, and will offer alternatives based on that assessment. While the crisis line staff can assist with setting up treatment appointments, generally it is up to the caller to take the information and use it to initiate treatment.

Once here, the next step is the intake process.

Click here for more on how the crisis line works.

Law enforcement will help

In Dover and Middletown, the police departments have the Angel Program. In New Castle it is called Hero Help. Other departments have agreements with treatment centers, but haven’t adopted a formal program. Still, they all work in similar ways.

Anyone with an opioid use disorder can walk in and department personnel will connect them with a treatment center. In some programs, people who have been arrested on minor crimes who have an opioid use disorder can get charges dropped if they successfully complete treatment.

Once here, the next step is the intake process.

Click here for more on the Angel and Hero Help programs.


Several treatment centers allow people seeking addiction treatment to just walk in. They are provided with information concerning expectations, and then move to the intake process. While some details may change based on the provider and location, the process is similar for just about all new arrivals. Find one by calling Delaware's 2-1-1 help line.

Once that is done, you will likely be asked to visit a treatment center to begin the intake process.

Intake at the treatment center

At Connections Community Support Programs’ Harrington Withdrawal Management Center, intake consists of staff collecting basic information on health, drug use history, and insurance. In the triage area a urinalysis is performed and a medical assessment is completed.

Insurance providers are called to ensure coverage for those who have insurance. For those without insurance, staff make every effort to work something out. Once all the paperwork and screening is completed, the next stop is a 23-hour observation room.

Click here for more on the treatment center.


During the 23-hour observation period, everyone must be seen by a doctor or nurse practitioner. During this period the client will meet with the medical and clinical staff, which consists of the doctor, nurse practitioner, RN, LPN , counselor and peer counselor and a Clinical Opioid Withdrawal Scale – or COWS -- assessment is completed. A COWS assessment is an 11 item scale that helps physicians determine a person’s level of withdrawal. Depending upon the outcome of observation, the next step might be inpatient detox, or it might be going to outpatient or medication assisted treatment.

Inpatient treatment/Detox

If the results of the 23-hour assessment determine it is warranted, your next stop might be a 3- to 5-day stay in detox. While there, you will be expected to keep your room clean, attend group sessions and meet with a counselor to determine what your next step will be.


Medication Assisted Treatment – or MAT – helps addicts reduce cravings and manage withdrawal. People on MAT return to the clinic each day and, in addition to getting their medication, meet with counselors to discuss how their recovery is progressing and to address other needs that may arise.

Click here for more on Medication Assisted Treatment.


Outpatient treatment

Whether entering the MAT program or going “cold turkey,” the next step also involves intensive outpatient treatment that consists of regular meetings with counselors and others in group sessions to help build a support network.

Transition house life

For some, the process of breaking free of addiction can be complicated by basic needs such as housing and having a job to support yourself and your family. Transition houses are places that allow you to work, save some money and maintain a support system with others in the house as you continue the recovery process.

Click here for more on transition houses.

Recovery - and support

Recovery is a lifelong habit that involves life changes, but most of those changes you have already experienced and are familiar with as part of the process.

Click here for more on recovery.

Stigma of addiction

Even after going through this whole process, many former addicts experience difficulties getting a job or improving their situation. Some employers, however, are helping out by giving those in recovery another chance.

Click here to read more about what they are doing.


At any point you may slip up. The best thing to do is get back into treatment as soon as possible.

Click here for more on overcoming a setback.

One person’s story

The path to recovery is difficult and filled with many challenges and obstacles, but none are so large that they cannot be overcome.

Click here to read Brian Taylor’s story.

Where we are

Delaware has made good progress battling the opioid crisis, but there is more to do.

Click here to read about where we are and what is being done.

Where we are going

Lt. Gov. Bethany Hall-Long is heading a new effort, called the Delaware Behavioral Health Consortium.

Click here to read about their short- and long-term goals.


NEXT - Here's where the journey to recovery begins.