Opioid Epidemic in Philadelphia: Implementation of the Mayor’s Task Force Recommendations
On May 19, 2017, Mayor James Kenney’s Task Force to Combat the Opioid Epidemic in Philadelphia released its final report and recommendations. The 18 recommendations – organized by Prevention and Education, Treatment, Overdose Prevention and Criminal Justice – provide actionable, evidence-based steps the City and its partners can take to reduce the harmful effects of opioids in our community.
The importance of these recommendations cannot be overstated. This epidemic continues to claim Philadelphians’ lives every day. Nine hundred and seven individuals died of an overdose in 2016, and while the final toxicology results are pending, we project that approximately 1,200 died in 2017.1 Thousands of Philadelphia residents had non-fatal overdoses, while an estimated 469,000 people used a prescription opioid in the last year.2 Addressing the crisis is one of the City’s top priorities.
The Task Force resulted in new targeted efforts and opportunities, and implementation of the recommendations is underway across the city. Since the final report was released, progress has been made on all 18 recommendations and the City has provided quarterly updates to the Mayor’s Drug and Alcohol Executive Commission, the group designated to provide feedback to and oversight of the City’s efforts.
This report summarizes the progress made towards full implementation of the recommendations. The quarterly reports made to the Mayor’s Drug and Alcohol Executive Commission can be found at: phila.gov/opioids