Philadelphia health officials observe Overdose Awareness Day

The city had close to 1,300 overdose deaths last year.

Pat Loeb
August 31, 2018 - 5:00 pm

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PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio) — Philadelphia health officials observed Overdose Awareness Day on Friday with the release of a new website devoted to Philadelphia's staggering overdose problem. 

Philadelphia had close to 1,300 overdose deaths last year — the vast majority from opioids — and almost 300 in the first quarter of this year. And if you think those statistics are far removed from your life and reflect a moral failing on the part of the victims, Health Department spokesman James Garrow says, that is exactly why the city chose to observe this day.

"This day really hopes to bring it out into light that overdose happens to regular people and we should all be more cognizant of the humanity that's suffering with these problems," Garrow said.

Garrow says the city has pulled all its resources together onto one web page with information on how to seek treatment or help in an emergency. He says the good news is the overdose rate is slowing down. He says officials are not sure why, but they hope the harm-reduction steps they're taking are working.