Philadelphia Creates Dedicated Overdose Unit

Philly Rocky

City of Brotherly Love expanding efforts to fight heroin epidemic

Officials in Philadelphia have announced that they are creating a dedicated EMS Unit that will focus on overdoses. The program is expected to launch by mid-summer and focus on the hard hit Kensington and Fairhill neighborhoods.

The city’s managing director, Michael DiBerardinis, says the unit is part of the city’s continuing efforts to revitalize the area, including the cleanup this year of an open-air heroin market that ran along a half-mile stretch of train tracks.

The unit’s addition is part of a $1 million expansion of services aimed at addressing the deadly opioid crisis said DiBerardinis.

Fire officials will run the overdose response unit, which will respond alongside paramedic units to overdose calls in the neighborhoods, the city says. Medics, social workers and certified recovery specialists will make up the unit’s team.

The team will work to help an person gain access to overdose treatment, hand out naloxone (the overdose reversal drug known by the brand Narcan), and provide education, according to the city. They’ll also follow up with people they’ve helped in the past and community leaders.

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To learn more about how Philadelphia is addressing the heroin epidemic, please visit NBC News 10.

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