Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley told the Post that tackling overprescription is one of the city’s three prongs in confronting the opioid crisis.
In addition to developing policies that would prevent doctors from overprescribing pain medication, he said, the city’s Department of Public Health is also trying to reduce the bureaucratic hurdles that confront opioid users seeking treatment. That sticking point has become increasingly pressing with the rise of fentanyl, the short half-life of which means the window for intervention is far narrower than that of traditional opioids like heroin.
The department also hopes to make naloxone – the opioid overdose antidote – more widely available to the public, and is convening open training sessions across the city to educate members of the public on how to recognise and treat opioid overdoses.
Farley said he was not familiar with the Trump administration’s efforts to stem the production of fentanyl at its Chinese source. His department “would love to be able to reduce the supply to the streets of Philadelphia”, he said, with an important caveat: “I don’t expect that to happen anytime soon.”
By Owen Churchill