Philadelphia’s Opioid Crisis Compared to Pittsburgh

“We are having a targeted strategy in the same way that Allegheny County has,” said Thomas Farley, Philadelphia’s health commissioner, adding that his colleagues pay more attention to the nation’s biggest cities than to Pittsburgh.

“But we, for decades, have become this big heroin market. We’re a distribution site for a very broad area. That drug availability is going to make it harder for us.”

By Aubrey Whelan

New Vaping Restrictions Bill Passed Council


Despite these national efforts, Bettigole said, the local restrictions for minors are still important because EVALI is just a symptom of a broader problem: teenage nicotine addiction.

“Fortunately, it looks like the CDC has identified the specific culprit in this outbreak,” she said. “But we have to recognize that as long as we have millions of our teens continuing to breathe in unknown substances, there will be another outbreak, and that’s what we’re trying to prevent here in Philadelphia.”

By Nina Feldman


The bill bans sales of flavored and high-nicotine e-cigarettes at stores that teens and children are allowed to enter. Kenney, who introduced the measure with Philadelphia Health Commissioner Thomas Farley, is expected to sign the legislation by the end of the year.

“Philadelphia is taking the lead in protecting teens from dangerous and unregulated vaping products,” Farley said in a statement.

By Sarah Gantz

Philly Magazine

Any store that decides it wants to sell flavored e-cigarette products will have to get an “Adults-Only Establishment” license from the Department of Public Health. The department says it will issue these yearlong permits on an annual basis. A spokesperson for Mayor Kenney says he plans to sign the bill by the end of the year. There will be a three-month education period for businesses, followed by three months of warnings. Fines for non-compliance kick in starting in July.

By David Murrell

Drop in Life Expectancy

“Every day, too many young people in Philadelphia and across the nation are dying early from preventable causes,” said Raynard Washington, chief epidemiologist for the city Department of Public Health. “Substance use, gun violence, and smoking- and obesity-related chronic illnesses are the primary causes of premature death among Philadelphians.”

By Rita Giordano


Youth Vaccinations in School District

City health centers do allow minors as young as 14 to consent for vaccines, said James Garrow, a spokesperson for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health. The school nurses, however, said that students have already been turned away from health centers on the “field trips.”

By Kristen Graham

Drexel Mumps Cases

Philadelphia Department of Public Health spokesman James Garrow said the department was working closely with Drexel officials as they monitor the situation.

“We’re in constant communication with them. We think that Drexel has a pretty good handle on this right now,” Garrow said.

By Ayana Jones

Food Economy Report


PHILADELPHIA–Mayor Jim Kenney, with representatives from the Economy League and Health Department, announced the release of a report detailing opportunities to grow the “good food” economy. The report assessed the size and scope of the Philadelphia food economy to discover opportunities to reap the benefits of “good food” businesses and policies. The report showed that Philadelphia is home to 6,500 businesses that grow, manufacture, distribute, sell, or serve food, or eliminate food waste. The food economy employs 79,000 people, comprising 12% of all jobs in the City.

Billy Penn

The info comes from a year-long project by the Health Department and the Economy League to quantify the restaurant industry’s growing contribution to the Philly landscape.

By Michaela Winberg


Meanwhile, Cheryl Bettigole with the Philadelphia Health Department says the bright spots here are that there are lots of small businesses focusing on healthy and quality food.

“We are starting to see reports come out about the burgeoning vegan food movement, healthy food movement in Philadelphia,” she said.

By Hadas Kuznits


Ristorante La Buca Hepatitis A Warning




Health officials are warning of possible Hepatitis A exposure at a Center City restaurant.

According to officials, they recently confirmed that a person who works at Ristorante La Buca, located at 711 Locust Street has acute Hepatitis A.

By Staff


Anyone who dined at the restaurant between Monday, Oct. 28 and Friday, Nov. 15 should receive a Hepatitis A vaccine as soon as possible, officials warn.

By Staff

Those who have previously received two doses of Hepatitis A vaccine or have had Hepatitis A in the past do not need to be vaccinated, the department said.

By Max Bennett


Anyone who dined at the restaurant between Oct. 28 and Nov. 15 would have been potentially exposed, according to health officials. The Health Department advises that people who haven’t already received two doses of the Hepatitis A vaccine and dined at the restaurant should receive the vaccine as soon as possible. Those who’ve already received two doses of the vaccine or have had Hepatitis A in the past don’t need to be vaccinated, health officials said.

By Adam Hermann


Officials recommend anyone who visited Ristorante La Buca between October 28 and November 15 receive a Hepatitis A vaccine as soon as possible after a person who works at the restaurant contracted the virus.

By Staff

Two-Year-Olds Death Ruled Homicide


The Medical Examiner’s Office ruled the boy’s death was a homicide caused by blunt-force trauma.

By Ellie Silverman


Police said the autopsy reports details blunt force trauma injuries. The cause of death has been ruled a homicide.

By Maggie Kent


The medical examiner determined the boy suffered blunt force trauma injuries. His death was ruled a homicide.–564953182.html

By David Chang and Dan Stamm


On Wednesday, the Medical Examiner’s Office determined the young child’s death was criminal.

By Greg Argos

Antibiotic Resistance Report

The CDC did not provide state-level data. But roughly 300 drug-resistant infections were reported by Philadelphia hospitals in 2018, said Kristin Privette, surveillance coordinator for the city Department of Public Health.

Philadelphia’s is one of six large city health departments tasked by the CDC to track drug-resistant infections in local hospitals, and help arrange for sophisticated laboratory testing where needed, said Steve Alles, the department’s director of disease control.

by Tom Avril and Dylan Purcell