Philadelphia’s opioid crisis has worsened — with fentanyl-related deaths continuing to rise since the COVID-19 pandemic — according to a 2022 Pew Charitable Trusts report.
Over the course of 12 months, over ten million used syringes were collected by Prevention Point, a Kensington-based nonprofit, reported PhillyVoice. Prevention Point collected more syringes than it distributed over the past year — 8.8 million syringes — for the first time since its inception.
The number of people seeking medical treatment for opioid use disorder increased by 845% over the past three years, reported PhillyVoice. The number of positive tests for heroin increased by 44%, and by 35% for fentanyl.
In the greater Philadelphia area, the Pew poll indicated that a 53% majority of residents say opioid use has impacted the quality of life in their neighborhoods, whereas before the pandemic, only 41% of residents agreed with this statement.
Penn Medicine has worked to improve this crisis through research and studies.
In 2019, Penn Med launched the Penn PET Addiction Center of Excellence to research the impact opioids have on the brain, with the goal of improving and developing new treatments for opioid use disorder.
Penn also held a forum in 2019 on the national opioid crisis, with its speakers including President Joe Biden, previous Penn President Amy Gutmann, and Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney.
“[This crisis] cuts across all communities and affects every corner of society,” Gutmann said at the forum.
The high rates of opioid overdose deaths is a “nationwide calamity,” Penn Med wrote on its website.