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.”

https://www.inquirer.com/health/opioid-addiction/opioid-overdoses-philadelphia-pittsburgh-naloxone-20191209.html

By Aubrey Whelan

Cocaine and Methamphetamines

“We still don’t have a full, complete understanding of stimulant use on the ground. There seem to be all kinds of mixed messages flying around,” said Kendra Viner, the opioid surveillance program manager for Philadelphia’s Public Health Department. “There definitely seems to be a disconnect between what people think they’re buying and what’s found in their toxicology if they die, or their drugs are tested. There are a lot of really dangerous cutting agents on the scene.”

https://www.inquirer.com/health/opioid-addiction/philadelphia-pennsylvania-meth-cocaine-stimulant-use-rising-20191001.html

By Aubrey Whelan

Overdose Hospitalization Report

“As the number of overdose deaths in Philadelphia dropped in 2018 from the 2017 watermark and naloxone became more prevalent in the community, we expect that the number of hospital admissions would go down; more people are surviving overdoses,” James Garrow, a spokesperson for Philadelphia’s health department, wrote in an email. “This is great news because it means that these folks have another chance to get into treatment.”

Still, he added, Philadelphia’s historically high overdose fatalities — 1,116 people died here in 2018, a rate higher than anywhere else in Pennsylvania — mean that it’s not surprising the city leads the state in hospitalizations.

https://www.inquirer.com/health/hospital-admissions-opioid-overdose-pennsylvania-20190918.html

By Aubrey Whelan

Naloxone Giveaway Days

The City of Philadelphia, in response to an emergency that has taken the lives of thousands of Philadelphians, disrupted the lives of tens of thousands more, and affected the lives of each and every one of us, recognizes International Overdose Awareness Day. In honor of this day, and to save as many lives as possible, the Health Department will be holding a series of naloxone giveaway days in September. International Overdose Awareness Day is a global event held on August 31st every year that aims to raise awareness of overdose and reduce the stigma of a drug-related death.

https://www.phila.gov/2019-08-30-philadelphia-announces-free-naloxone-giveaway-days/

Opioid Epidemic and Infections

“People are injecting more often, they need more syringes, and they don’t necessarily have enough, and because of that they’re reusing syringes, which increases their risk,” said Lia Pizzicato, a substance-use epidemiologist for the city health department. “And then because they’re injecting so much, it’s difficult to find a vein, and they’re more likely to miss. It’s a cycle.”

https://www.inquirer.com/health/opioid-crisis-infections-strep-a-endocarditis-drug-use-philadelphia-20190809.html

By Aubrey Whelan