A new opioid response team in Philadelphia is pairing paramedics with social service case workers with the goal of getting overdose survivors into treatment.
The SAMHSA grant also allowed the departments to hire an epidemiologist, Emily Bobyock, to track and consolidate data among the various departments and measure the program’s success.
Bobyock said that initially she will look at how many contacts the unit makes, the nature of the contact (whether the unit is being flagged down, stops when it sees someone in distress, or is arriving as a secondary to a medic unit), and how many doses of Narcan are left behind, as well as outcomes such as how many people are accepting treatment and remaining there. Kenney said they will report on the initiative’s progress next month.
By Nina Feldman
Philadelphia has rolled out an emergency response team unlike any other in the nation. The new EMS unit, called AR-2, was announced Wednesday. It has a two-pronged goal: reverse overdoses and connect people to treatment services.
Currently deployed in the Kensington neighborhood, the team is a mix of paramedics, case workers and public health professionals — a model that puts the effort in uncharted territory.
By Michaela Winberg
“That 90% of people who are supportive of an overdose-prevention site, I think their voices at community meetings are really important to hear, and we have not heard them as often as we’d like,” said Philadelphia Managing Director Brian Abernathy, who is leading the Mayor’s Resilience Project and has been in conversations with Kensington residents.
By Nina Feldman
“It is encouraging to us that an overwhelming majority of Kensington residents understand that overdose prevention sites not only save lives, they also help drug users get into treatment and reduce the number of people injecting drugs on the street,” Philadelphia Health Commissioner Dr. Thomas Farley told PWin a statement Tuesday. “When over a thousand people are dying of drug overdoses in Philadelphia each year, we need to provide these services as soon as possible. Just as syringe exchange was once controversial but is now a widely-accepted and proven way to prevent HIV/AIDS, overdose prevention sites will likewise be shown to save lives and help affected neighborhoods.”
By Courtenay Harris Bond
Kensington has been hard-hit by fatal drug overdoses during the past few years, representing the highest concentration in the city. Public health officials recently reported a modest reduction in deaths from 2017 to 2018, but acknowledged more must be done to limit the toll on the community.
By Michael Tanenbaum