July 20 – 21, 2018 Overdose Cluster 2

“We don’t want to make a definite confirmation until we know more,” said James Garrow, spokesman for the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

Garrow stated the heroin tested by the Willow Grove lab came from an independent purchase, not from an overdose victim, and that the samples were sold outside city limits, and not near where the bulk of the overdoses occurred in Philadelphia’s Kensington neighborhood.

“That said, the reactions that victims displayed upon being revived is consistent with the synthetic cannabinoid being present. We don’t want to make a definite confirmation until we know more,” Garrow wrote in an email.


By Aubrey Whelan

Heat Islands Within Philadelphia

In the last 10 years, there have been 104 heat-related deaths in Philadelphia, according to the Department of Public Health, the most recent one occurring this month. But according to James Garrow, a spokesman for the Health Department, “deaths that are considered heat-related are the product of … investigation and pathologist examination and are not simply yes-or-no heat-related definition,” so that definition varies.


By Catalina Jaramillo

Pizza Restaurant Complaints

James Garrow of the Department of Public Health confirmed that a “Health Department sanitarian” visited the location on Monday “in response to online complaints.”

“The sanitarian was unable to conduct an inspection of the establishment. This facility was last inspected on March 27, 2017 and found in compliance,” he said. “Our sanitarian spoke with the owner and confirmed that this establishment will be inspected when they re-open.”


By Brian Hickey

July 20 – 21, 2018 Overdose Cluster

Between Friday and Saturday, at least 165 people around the city overdosed — an unprecedented number, health officials said, and thought to have been driven by the drug Freeman bought. Health officials believe it may have been heroin cut with an anticholinergic, a substance found in muscle relaxers and the antihistamine diphenhydramine (Benadryl) that causes dangerous side effects.


By Aubrey Whelan

First Heat-Related Death of 2018 in Philadelphia

On Thursday — the sixth consecutive day of 90-plus temperatures locally —  Philadelphia reported its first heat-related death since 2016.

The victim was not identified, nor was it disclosed when the person died. Health Department spokesman James Garrow said heat was “a significant contributing factor” to the death, which occurred during the heat wave that began Saturday and peaked Tuesday.


By Tony Wood