Stimulant Overdoses

The report also found that sales of amphetamines, such as Adderall, a popular ADHD drug, increased by 617 percent between 2000 and 2017 in Philadelphia, and pharmaceutical companies that make stimulants are spending more on free meals for doctors, presumably to bring their attention to the product.

By Aubrey Whelan

Overdose Prevention Sites OpEd

Overdose prevention sites, also known as supervised injection facilities, offer a clean, safe environment in which people can inject drugs they have purchased elsewhere under the supervision of medical staff, who act much like lifeguards do at a swimming pool. Staff members are always on the scene and armed with naloxone, which they can readily administer if needed so no overdose becomes a fatality.

By Thomas Farley

Cocaine and Fentanyl Investigation

The people who are overdosing with cocaine and fentanyl in their bodies are not your average coke user, according to Dr. Kendra Viner, Opioids Program Manager at Philadelphia’s Department of Public Health. “People who died from overdose with cocaine and fentanyl in their system look similar demographically and in death scene presentation to those who died from overdose with cocaine and heroin,” said Viner.

By Max Daly

Free Overdose Prevention Trainings

The Philadelphia Department of Public Health first started holding classes and distributing naloxone based on a recommendation made in a May 2017 report from the Mayor’s Task Force to Combat the Opioid Epidemic. Today, several classes are held each month in various locations: at Prevention Point Philadelphia (the city’s only needle exchange), CHOP Primary Care on South Broad Street, Community Behavioral Health in Center City, and at multiple branches of the Free Library of Philadelphia.

“A key part of this effort is ensuring that training for the public is readily available,” says James Garrow, the communications director at the Philadelphia Department of Public Health.

By Bethany Ao

Buprenorphine Ad Campaign


Earlier today, the Commissioners of the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disAbilities Services and Philadelphia Department of Public Health jointly announced a new mass media and digital advertising campaign intended to encourage people suffering from opioid use disorder, and their family and friends, to learn about medication-assisted treatment.[UNIQID]


The Philadelphia Health Department has launched a new campagin to fight the opioid epidemic. The ads show the real faces of people in recovery. Ronald McAdams, who is featured in the campagin, says he hopes he can help others get help by sharing his story.


City officials don’t have a good sense of how many people use heroin every day in Philadelphia. Their lowest estimate is 50,000, and it could be as many as double that. Farley said this campaign is designed for all people who use heroin, not just those who are homeless on the streets of Kensington.

“That’s not your typical people who are using heroin,” he said. “Most of the people who are injecting drugs are living at home, many are employed, so they are in many ways a hidden population.”

By Nina Feldman

Philly Voice

“We need a media campaign to reach all the people in Philadelphia who might not be aware of this,” Department of Public Health Commissioner Tom Farley said.

The $200,000 ad campaign will include television and radio spots, print ads, social media posts and ads placed at Frankford Transportation Center and on bus shelters. It also includes three billboard advertisements – two along I-95 and another on Route 1.

By John Kopp


Health Commissioner Thomas Farley said that despite an encouraging decline in deaths, Philadelphia’s opioid epidemic is still at crisis levels. The new campaign is being aimed at the estimated 50,000 to 100,000 heroin users in Philadelphia.

“Although our public image of people who are using heroin is people who are homeless on the street in Kensington, that’s not your typical people who are using heroin,” he said. “Most of the people who are injecting drugs are living at home, many are employed — they’re in many ways a hidden population. A hidden population we need to reach.”

By Aubrey Whelan


Advertising has proven effective at getting people to consume things. But will it work to get people to stop consuming drugs? Philadelphia health officials are hoping the answer is yes.

Officials have launched an ad campaign proclaiming “BUPE works.” BUPE, or buprenorphine, is medically assisted treatment for addiction and the target audience is drug users who are ready to give it a try.

By Pat Loeb

Inquirer Editorial Board

That’s why the Departments of Public Health and Behavioral Health are launching a $200,000 ad campaign in English and Spanish to raise awareness about the availability of medications that treat opioid addiction. The ads feature Philadelphians in recovery who use buprenorphine, or “bupe,” with the slogan, “Bupe works.” (The campaign directs people interested in treatment to call 888-545-2600 or visit

By Editorial Board

The Rise of Fentanyl and Fighting Against It

Overdoses linked to fentanyl, a synthetic opioid up to 50 times stronger than heroin, killed nearly 30,000 people in the United States in 2017. Authorities say most fentanyl sold in the state of Pennsylvania can be traced back to China. We went to Kensington, an area considered a “ground zero” of America’s opioid crisis, in the Pennsylvanian city of Philadelphia, to find out how a drug funneled through from China is fueling a health crisis half a world away.

By Xinyan Yu