Wilmington is the largest city in the state. Built on the site of the first Swedish settlement in America, Fort Christina, Wilmington is located at the confluence of the Brandywine River and the Christina River. Wilmington is the county seat of New Castle County, and was named by Proprietor Thomas Penn after his good friend, Spencer Compton, Earl of Wilmington. Wilmington is the home of 72,000 people and the Wilmington Metropolitan Division comprises New Castle County, DE, Cecil County, MD, and Salem County, NJ. The median age of Wilmington, DE is 34 years, with a female-to-male ratio of 100:90. The median income for a household is around $33,000, with 25% of families living below the poverty line. According to a recent report, Delaware is fourth nationwide in cocaine rehab admissions, and fifth for heroin-related admissions to treatment. According to a 2015 article in Delaware Today
, paramedics in New Castle County responded to 700 overdose calls in a 12-month time span. In 2009, Wilmington’s violent crime rate rose to more than 331% of the national average. Parenting magazine then ranked it as the most dangerous U.S. city.
Founded as the court town for Kent County in 1683, Dover was originally known as one of the “lower counties” on the Delaware. In 1717, the city was laid out by the Delaware General Assembly, and Dover, DE became the capital. Famously the home of Caesar Rodney, a wartime leader during the American Revolution, Dover is home to his grave site. In the early 19th century, Dover had a large Quaker community, and it has a population of around 36,000. The Delaware Department of Health and Social Services conducted a report regarding substance use/abuse treatment. Of alcohol and drug treatment center admissions in Delaware each year, 3,200 of the 7,000 people seek help for heroin addiction. Another 1,100 seek therapy or detox for alcohol only, and an additional 900 were in rehabs for prescription pain pill medicines.
Founded by Welsh and Scots-Irish settlers in 1694, Newark, DE officially was established by charter in 1758. During the American Revolutionary War, American and British forces clashed outside of Newark, in the Battle of Cooch’s Bridge. Legend has it that this is the first battle where the Stars and Stripes flag was flown. A paper mill was the first industrial venture of Newark, created in 1798. Delaware has the 10th highest drug overdose mortality rate in the U.S., according to a 2013 report. The number of deaths from prescription drugs quadrupled since 1999, soaring to 16.6 per 100,000 persons. According to a report by the Trust for America’s Health (TFAH), prescription drug use/abuse is the top public health problem in Delaware. In 2016 in Newark and other Delaware cities, there were more than 300 overdose deaths related to heroin and fentanyl-laced opioids, according to the First State Update.
In Middletown there are 962 people per square mile, with a total of 6,161 residents. Middletown is 94% white, 1.3% African American, and 5% Hispanic. Based on statistics, the median income for a household here is $41,600, and 11% of the population lives below the poverty line. Middletown has 100 females to every 85 males. The economy was stimulated by recent annexations of land and Middletown was the fastest growing city in Delaware between 200 and 2010. The population grew 206% over one decade. According to a study reported in The Middletown Press, 37 people were arrested in Middletown for drug charges, and another 28 received DUIs in 2017. Like many other towns in Delaware, heroin and opioid addiction is on the rise in Middletown, with the numbers of overdose fatalities increasing over the last 4 years.
A small town located in New Castle and Kent counties is Smyrna, Delaware. Considered part of the Dover Delaware Metropolitan Statistical Area, this town is home to 10,000 residents. The median household income for a family is $42,300, and 8% of families live below the poverty level. Smyrna was initially called Duck Creek Cross Roads but was renamed in 1806 after the ancient Greek seaport of Smyrna. Historic places include Timothy Cummins House, Ivy Dale Farm, Peterson and Mustard’s Hermitage Farm and Woodlawn. Based on a 2013 report in USA Today, nearly 24 million Americans (9% of the population) use illicit drugs. Regarding Delaware, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health found that drug addiction and alcoholism remain a problem in this region. Heroin use has increased 80% since 2007.
Milford is a city in Sussex and Kent counties and has a population of 10,000. Part of the Dover Metropolitan Statistical Area and the PA/NJ/DE/MD Combined Statistical Area, Milford has an average household size of 2.44. The median income for a Milford household is $32,525, and around 10.4% of families live below the poverty line. The Kent County side of Milford was first settled in 1680 by Henry Bowan, and it was incorporated in 1807. At a glance, in 2012, there were 300 fewer offenses in Kent County than in 2008. According to recent statistics from DelawareOnline, several people in Milford use prescription drugs for non-medical reasons and others abuse marijuana, cocaine, and hallucinogens. For a small population, 41 people are arrested per year for drug charges and around 20 are charged for DUIs annually.
Located along the Nanticoke River, Seaford, Delaware is in Sussex County. There are only 7,000 residents here, but that is a 3.4% increase since 2000 statistics. Being the largest city in Sussex County, it was voted the “28th Best Small Town in America”. The average household size is 2.95, and 31.5% of households have children under the age of 18 years. The median income for families is $40,000 and 22% of families live below the poverty line. The State of Delaware, Crime and Justice Center, published an online report of drug crime statistics from 2009 to 2012. Statewide, Delaware had 6,300 drug crime arrests in 2012. In Sussex County, arrests were slightly higher in 2012 than in 2009. Overall, juvenile arrests were 38% lower than in 2009 but adult arrests increased by 10%.
A small town in Sussex County, Georgetown is home to 6,500 people, which is up 38% from 2000. Part of the Salisbury MD-Delaware Metropolitan Statistical Area, Georgetown was the first colony in Delaware, founded in 1631 by Dutch settlers. Since the turn of the 21st century, Perdue Farms is a major employer in Georgetown, and it has a diverse population, with residents speaking French, Creole, English, and Spanish. Crime has increased by 2% in Sussex County according to a 2012 report by the Delaware Department of Health and Human Services. Of the 2012 offenses, 30% are social offenses, 26% are violent offenses, and 13% are drug/narcotic offenses.
In New Castle County, Elsmere is a town that borders Wilmington. With 6,100 residents, the town has a total area of 1 square mile. The racial makeup of the town is 82% white, 10% African American, 1% Asian, and 7% Hispanic or “other” races. Elsmere was incorporated as a town in 1909 and is the home of the Delaware State Fair. In New Castle County, Delaware, there were 750 admissions to drug treatment and rehab centers for opiate abuse, and 529 admissions for heroin in 2012. In Delaware, around 2,000 people have sought some type of treatment from 1998 to 2009 for heroin drug addiction. In 2010, 21% of rehabilitation admissions were due to heroin abuse/use.
New Castle is a small city in Delaware that has 5,300 residents. Dating back to 1927, New Castle has a tradition for tours of historical homes, gardens, and churches. These tours are usually held on the third Saturday of May and home holders dress in colonial costumes and greet visitors. In June, New Castle holds its annual Separation day celebration. In New Castle County, heroin is in vogue again. During 2014, there were 15 overdose deaths per month in this region, based on a report from Delaware.gov. The victims range in age from 22 to 51 years and 1/3rd of them were female. In addition, all but one heroin overdose victim was white. Heroin use has resulted because of the successful crackdown on prescription drug use/abuse (pill mills). Because addicts cannot get opioid medications, they turn to heroin as a cheaper alternative. Fentanyl-laced heroin and opioid pills have claimed over 300 lives in New Castle County Delaware.