“There are no known cases of elevated blood lead levels in the city linked to outdoor exposure, like from parks, playgrounds, or dust in the air,” said Caroline Johnson, deputy commissioner of the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.
By Frank Kummer
The Health Department said in a statement it’s working with PES to identify any negative effect of the fire to the community.
By Catalina Jaramillo
The Philadelphia Inquirer reports that the city’s first openly gay deputy sheriff died by suicide, according to findings confirmed by the Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office.
By Jay Connor
The Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office on Monday confirmed what many suspected: Dante M. Austin, the city’s first openly gay deputy sheriff, whose body was found Friday morning, died by suicide.
By Mensah Dean
The Philadelphia Medical Examiner’s Office has confirmed that the wound was self-inflicted.
By John Riley
Mayoral spokesman Mike Dunn said Friday that Philadelphia does plan to follow up with pharmacies this summer to check compliance and see if more education is needed.
Philadelphia officials said a 2016 study found 40 percent of pharmacies in areas with the highest rates of heroin possession and distribution stocked naloxone, and fewer than half of surveyed pharmacists knew about the standing order. Pharmacy students also canvassed 85 pharmacies in 2017 to educate pharmacists and encourage them to stock naloxone.
Dunn said the city again checked with pharmacies early last year and found about 75 percent had naloxone in hand.
By Mark Scolforo
Parents in the Point Breeze neighborhood say they got the news they did not want to hear at the start of summer break.
They learned that Chew Playground’s large athletic field, the only real large open area for children in the neighborhood to play in, will likely stay closed for the summer.
By Kelly Rule
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