City

Report: Philly Drug Overdose Deaths Jumped to New Record in 2017

The Department of Public Health released sobering statistics on the opioid crisis on Tuesday, including death rates broken down by demographics and location.

overdose deaths

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A report from the Philadelphia Department of Public Health on Tuesday shed some light on just how dire and damaging the city’s opioid crisis has become.

Fatal drug overdoses in the city are occurring at a higher rate than ever before. The city saw 1,217 overdose deaths in 2017, up by 34 percent from 2016.

A Pew Charitable Trust study found that Philadelphia’s 2016 overdose death rate was among the highest in the nation. It’s an issue that the city has been grappling with for ages: In 1999, the first year that the Center for Disease Control collected county numbers on overdose deaths, Philadelphia had the highest drug death rate among counties with populations of at least 1 million, according to Pew. So it’s especially concerning to know that the issue has only gotten worse since then.

opioid drug overdose

Image via the Philadelphia Department of Public Health

Some statistics from the Department of Health report:

  • Opioids accounted for 88 percent of drug deaths in 2017, up from 80 percent in 2016.
  • Fentanyl-related deaths remain on an unprecedented rise: Fentanyl or fentanyl analogs were found in 846 deaths in 2017, which represents a 95 percent increase from 2016.
  • Deaths involving heroin and pharmaceutical opioid painkillers also increased in 2017.
opioid drug overdose

Image via the Philadelphia Department of Public Health

  • Opioid-related overdose rates increased by 60 percent among males in 2017, and 16 percent among females.
  • Hispanics had the largest increase in opioid-related overdose in 2017 (60 percent), as compared to non-Hispanic whites (47 percent) and non-Hispanic Blacks (34 percent).
  • People between the ages of 35 and 44 became the age group with the highest opioid-related death rate in 2017, with the highest increase of all age groups (65 percent).
opioid drug overdose

Image via the Philadelphia Department of Public Health

  • The highest density of opioid-related overdose deaths in 2017 occurred in Port Richmond and Kensington, but the Department of Health said new “hot spots” emerged in South, Northeast and West Philadelphia.
opioid drug overdose

Image via the Philadelphia Department of Public Health

  • 75 percent of opioid-related overdose deaths occurred in a personal residence, which was often the decedents’ home.

For more information on the Philadelphia overdose crisis, including the city’s attempts to fight overdose deaths, visit the Department of Public Health online.