Philadelphia Takes Steps to Combat Opioid Epidemic

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PhillyBite10Philadelphia, PA - City officials provided status updates to the 18 recommendations made by The Mayor’s Task Force to Combat the Opioid Epidemic. Led by the Philadelphia Department of Public Health and the Department of Behavioral Health and Intellectual disability Services, the City is currently implementing many of the recommendations presented by the Task Force.


These include, but are not limited to:

  • Increasing outreach and access to Medication-Assisted Treatment
  • Developing “warm hand-offs” from Emergency Departments and the EMS system so that someone who has recently overdosed is connected as quickly as possible to treatment
  • Distributing the opioid overdose antidote naloxone to first responders, people who use drugs and community members
  • Providing “low-barrier” housing options that do not require sobriety
  • Working with residents to mitigate the quality of life issues that have arisen in neighborhoods close to the epicenter of the opioid epidemic

Officials also announced that the City will encourage private-sector development of Comprehensive User Engagement Sites (CUES) for individuals experiencing a substance use disorder related to opioids.

“Philadelphia’s fatal overdose rate is the worst in the nation among large cities, and incidents of overdose have steadily increased to an alarming degree,” said Mayor Jim Kenney about the decision. “I applaud the work of the Task Force and city leadership in taking this bold action to help save lives.”

The development by a private-sector entity of one or more CUES is a harm reduction strategy, and taken together with multiple other strategies will move the City forward in addressing the opioid crisis by saving lives and reducing the public disorder caused by open air drug use.

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