Secondary Trauma in Overdose Reversals

Allison Herens, the harm reduction coordinator for the city, said secondary traumatic stress or ways to cope with the trauma of reversing overdoses are not currently discussed in the city’s naloxone trainings, but is something the city will be investing in through resilience trainings in the future.

“I think these are really important things to be thinking about,” Herens said. “Thinking about how we could better prepare people for these incidents and how you might advise them to deal with any trauma and emotional feelings about the experience.”

“Because we recognize it can be emotional, it can be triggering, it can be hard,” she added.

By Henry Savage, Evan Easterling and Maggie Loesch

St Joe’s Dining Hall Inspection

James Garrow, director of communications for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health, said individuals who have concerns about the cleanliness of a facility are encouraged to contact the city’s Office of Food Protection.

“Whenever anyone eats at any facility inspected by the health department, including university dining halls, they should keep an eye out for things that don’t feel or look right or clean,” Garrow said.

By Erin Breen

Soda Tax Unemployment Study


A study on a key economic marker of the impact of Philadelphia’s beverage tax was published today in the scientific journal PLOS ONE. This study found that the unemployment rate in Philadelphia industries potentially affected by the beverage tax did not change in the year after the tax was implemented.[UNIQID]

School District Exclusion Over Vaccines

James Garrow, a spokesperson for the city health department, said that to prevent the spread of vaccine-preventable diseases like measles and mumps, high percentages of children should receive the required immunizations on schedule. Philadelphia is in better shape than many other communities, Garrow said, because about 95 percent of its students have received one dose of a vaccine against measles, mumps and rubella, and 75 percent have received two doses.

“The School District of Philadelphia has policies to enforce the requirement that children receive their recommended immunizations, and the Department of Public Health is working with the School District to assess and maintain high levels of immunization coverage at individual schools,” Garrow said in a statement.

By Kristen Graham

PrEP in Emergency Departments

Others in the HIV prevention field agreed that if you can get past the logistical obstacles, the ER offers a great opportunity to start people on PrEP.

“I think you capture a population that may not be accessing medical care elsewhere that may be using emergency rooms as their primary-care providers” said Erika Aaron, the PrEP clinical adviser for Philadelphia’s Aids Activities Coordinating Office.

By Nina Feldman

Stimulant Overdoses

The report also found that sales of amphetamines, such as Adderall, a popular ADHD drug, increased by 617 percent between 2000 and 2017 in Philadelphia, and pharmaceutical companies that make stimulants are spending more on free meals for doctors, presumably to bring their attention to the product.

By Aubrey Whelan

Rise in Syphilis Rates

The increase in women with syphilis is especially alarming to Philadelphia officials because the disease is most serious when it is passed on to a fetus.

“As more women are affected, we are going to see more infants affected, and that’s really devastating,” said Deputy Health Commissioner Caroline Johnson.

By Nina Feldman

Rise in Hepatitis A Cases

Philadelphia now sees more than 30 cases of hepatitis A a year, about five times more than the baseline just two years ago. The viral liver infection is also showing up in people who don’t have any of the known risk factors, said Steven Alles, director of the Division of Disease Control at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

By Joel Wolfram

Call for More Syringe Exchange Programs

While overdose deaths declined last year in Philadelphia, HIV infections increased. Last week, the Philadelphia Department of Public Health released data that show an increase in new HIV infection since 2016 after a decade of decline. The increase has been attributed to infections among people who inject drugs — 59 of whom were newly diagnosed with HIV in 2018, double the number of people who were diagnosed in 2016. Bucks County has been experiencing a similar increase.

By Inquirer Editorial Board