A Day in the Life Story

Over in North Philly, Emily Kehoe tramples through an overgrown back alley as a fierce-sounding dog locked up nearby barks like mad. Kehoe ignores the mutt and presses on, stepping over brambles and trash to a trap set the day before.

“There are leaves, buckets, tires, everything mosquitos like,” says the mosquito surveillance and control technician for the city’s Health Department. “I just saw this area yesterday, thought it’d be a good place for a trap, set one up, and we’ll see if we caught anything.”

She did – dozens upon dozens of Aedes albopictus mosquitoes, which like to breed in the small puddles that form inside old tires, discarded buckets, or broken bottles.

“It is an interesting job, that’s for sure – like nothing I’ve had,” says Kehoe, who has a master’s degree in public health. “I’m crawling through alleys, looking in people’s yards for standing water. I do get some strange looks, but once I explain that I’m here to help them get rid of mosquitos, they are fully on board… most of the time.”

Kehoe is on the lookout for Zika, West Nile, and other nasty viruses spread by the bloodsucking bugs. Every day, the city readies itself for a dreadful tomorrow. Officials monitor the outbreaks of diseases and the predicted paths of distant hurricanes. If there is an emergency on this day, the city has 15,552 water bottles on hand, just in case. It’s work that goes unnoticed. And everyone, including those who do it, hope that’s the way things stay.

http://planphilly.com/articles/2018/08/28/a-day-in-the-life-of-philadelphia-and-the-people-who-make-it-go

By Jim Saksa

Health Commissioner Feature

[I]n the world of public health, success and failure are measured in preventable deaths. And for that reason, Farley has become a key figure in the city’s battle against the overdose crisis, which claimed more than 2,100 lives between 2016 and 2017 in the doctor’s first two years on the job.

http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/news/behind-the-philly-health-department-s-data-driven-fight-against/article_cdfb3dd8-8605-11e8-b7f7-dfd6da56bd48.html

By Max Marin

Fentanyl Crack Overdoses 4

Across the sidewalk, a woman named Kelly sat on a folding chair and watched Herens move down the block. She had heard about the cluster of overdoses, but it hadn’t deterred her from buying crack. She said she wasn’t interested in carrying Narcan: “I feel like it wouldn’t matter if I died,” she said. Her eyes welled with tears.

Herens walked over, flier in hand. It couldn’t hurt to learn a bit about it, she said. Kelly nodded, managed a smile, and took the flier.

http://www.philly.com/philly/health/addiction/west-philadelphia-nervously-watches-as-fentanyl-kills-the-unsuspecting-20180705.html

By Aubrey Whelan

State Preemption of City Tobacco Regulations

“We were certainly both surprised and disappointed to see that included, particularly in a bill that wasn’t out in the open for discussion,” said Dr. Cheryl Bettigole, the city’s director of chronic disease prevention. “There wasn’t a way to have a discussion about all the reasons that’s a terrible idea.”

https://www.phillyvoice.com/philly-ban-flavored-tobacco-state-budget/

By John Kopp

Fentanyl Crack Overdoses 3

Viner said the department’s harm reduction coordinator was doing street outreach in West Philadelphia on Wednesday to encourage crack-cocaine users to take precautions against an overdose, such as not using alone; taking a small “test dose” first; and having naloxone on hand. She said the department was distributing the opioid overdose-reversal medication to those drug users, as well as testing strips they can use to see if their drugs are tainted with fentanyl.

https://whyy.org/articles/health-officials-warn-of-fentanyl-contamination-after-ods-kill-2-crack-cocaine-users/

By Joel Wolfram

Fentanyl Crack Overdoses 2

Health Department officials advised healthcare providers to remain vigilant for signs of opioid overdose “even if the drug consumed is reported to be a non-opioid.” Officials are also encouraging clinical toxicology testing to test reported cocaine users for fentanyl as well. So far, clinical toxicology tests for two patients confirmed that fentanyl was the only substance detected, health department officials said, while further tests are pending.

http://www.philadelphiaweekly.com/news/what-we-know-about-the-crack-fentanyl-outbreak-in-philly/article_f3dbf71c-7ad5-11e8-b6c0-3373982f1dda.html

By Max Marin and Christopher Moraff

Fentanyl Crack Overdoses

“Everyone sort of knows, if they read the paper and follow the news, that fentanyl is in all of the heroin now,” said Caroline Johnson, the city’s deputy health commissioner. “Some of the cautions that people are told when they’re using heroin is to take it very slowly, to do a test dose, have naloxone present in case of an overdose. We don’t say those things to cocaine users or crack users.

http://www.philly.com/philly/health/addiction/fentanyl-crack-cocaine-overdoses-west-philadelphia-20180626.html

By Aubrey Whelan