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Badlands of Philadelphia: Almost 50 Overdoses in One Day

Badlands of Philadelphia: Almost 50 Overdoses in One Day

Author: Justin Mckibben

In America, estimates say nearly a thousand people died from drug overdose per week in 2015. This year, we see how this problem continues to grow and strike some cities with terrible intensity. Drug overdose was the leading cause of death in Philadelphia, claiming 700 people that year. One place in particular has earned a name for itself: “The Badlands.”

The Badlands of Philadelphia is an area encompassing the Kensington neighborhood and parts of North Philadelphia. Residents gave this part of town the infamous “The Badlands” title because of its high rate of crime including homicide, drug trafficking and gang activity. Just this past week nearly 50 residents in the Badlands of Philadelphia suffered overdoses from what narcotics officers believe was tainted heroin.

Luckily, according to an NBC Philadelphia report, there were no fatalities during the outbreak of overdoses on November 17. However, several individuals had to be revived using Naloxone. That is the opioid overdose antagonist that has seen expanded access all over the country in an effort to stop the ever increasing body count.

Record numbers of overdoses like this are popping up in various parts of the country, and it is an exclamation point to the story of the opioid epidemic in America. This was one very bad day in the Badlands of Philadelphia, but will it get worse before it gets better?

Badlands of Philadelphia: Following the Pattern

Philadelphia Police is working on laboratory tests to determine if these drugs are part of a growing problem with tainted narcotics. Many overdoses in several states have been linked to tainted heroin that has been mixed with Fentanyl or other synthetic analogues far more powerful than the illicit drug itself. This is not be the first time a bad batch of heroin has hit the Badlands of Philadelphia. Gary Tennis, Secretary of the Pennsylvania Department of Drug and Alcohol Programs, had some powerful words concerning the way the epidemic has been handled until now.

“If we had ISIS terrorists roaming the streets, killing a thousand Americans a week, [or] ebola or some exotic disease, we wouldn’t tolerate it for a minute… But because of the stigma around this disease, we continue with policies federally, state and local, that are fundamentally inhumane.”

The Badlands of Philadelphia also made headlines in May of 2016 when the experimental painkiller W-18 was allegedly found within its territory. The dangerous W-18 is causing considerable hysteria in Canada and the United States.

Badlands of Philadelphia: W-18 and Fentanyl

As a recap from previous stories back in May of 2016, W-18 is a synthetic opiate and psychoactive substance similar to heroin. However, it is horrifically more deadly. W-18 is one of the most powerful opioid of a series of about 30 compounds. Experts go as far as to describe W-18 as being:

  • 100 times more potent than fentanyl
  • 10,000 times stronger than morphine

Though fentanyl or W-18 are yet to confirmed as the cause of the outbreak of overdoses in the Badlands of Philadelphia, fentanyl is considered to be responsible for a upsurge of overdoses that health officials say has risen 636% since last year.

  • In 2013, 25 people died as a result of Fentanyl overdose in Philadelphia
  • In 2015, 184 people died as a result of Fentanyl overdose
  • The 2016 99 people died from Fentanyl overdose in Philadelphia in just the first four months

Between 2013 and 2015 is a seven fold increase in death. One can only imagine where the number will be by the end of this year. According to NBC news, Philadelphia also has some of the cheapest and most potent heroin in the nation. Reports claim that purity levels of heroin reach an estimate between 80% and 90% purity. That alone is incredibly deadly. The addition of unpredictable and synthetic drugs only magnifies the threat to life.

Badlands of Philadelphia: Not the Only “Badlands”

Philadelphia is not the only state with a section of “Badlands.” In reality, the “Badlands” are basically everywhere. In every major city, in every state, there are people suffering. A recent report stated that one American dies every 19 minutes from a heroin or opiate overdose. Not doesn’t include alcohol or any other drugs that contribute to the destruction caused by addiction all over the nation.

The new report from the U.S. Surgeon General highlights the distressing truth in the statistics. To understand the depth of the addiction crisis in America, one needs only to look around. The report says 1 in 7 Americans will face a substance use disorder. Sadly, only 10% of those will get the necessary treatment to save their life.

In the presence of great suffering there is still hope. People are finally working together to try and shed the stigma of addiction in many communities. The progress that is possible in holistic treatment is life changing, and taking the first steps can make all the difference. If you or someone you love is struggling, call now.  

   CALL NOW 1-800-951-6135

Pennsylvania Heroin Prices Cheaper than Alcohol

Pennsylvania Heroin Prices Cheaper than Alcohol

Author: Justin Mckibben

The perils of the Pennsylvania heroin problem is not one unique to its citizens alone, but the price tag on one of the biggest drug threats in this area proves a disturbing point. Pennsylvania is definitely one state that has taken a specific interest in the growing drug problem faced in the state, and especially with the alleged ‘heroin epidemic’ that has reached headlines concerning several states of the course of the past months, and new legislation is being put into place to try and make a difference. However a recent study leaves a horrifying fact to be pondered and that is that a shot of heroin costs less than a shot of booze in this state.

Prices and Politicians

There was a new shocking investigative report released last Tuesday that revealed what is so concerning about the drug problem in the area of Pennsylvania. In the report it is noted that it’s easier for young people in Pennsylvania to buy heroin than a bottle of wine, and that the price of heroin is cheaper than a six-pack of beer. State Senator Gene Yaw, who is the Republican chairman for a joint legislative state agency the Center for Rural Pennsylvania plainly made the assessment and went into more detail about his own findings.

Senator Yaw said a small package of heroin on the streets can cost between $5 and $10, and typically that purchased amount delivers a high lasting four to five hours. The report from the center, based on evidence submitted in hearings across the state this past summer involving heroin, listed Cambria County in central Pennsylvania as having the highest overdose death rate outside of Philadelphia, 22.6 deaths per 100,000 population. This equally rivals Philadelphia’s drug death rate. Yaw suggested Cambria County’s drug death rate was not caused by any unique elements.

Democratic state Representative Bryan Barbin, however, was not confident in that conclusion. Barbin said Johnstown is easily accessible from heroin distribution centers like the city of Baltimore. According to Barbin the prospect of selling heroin is a striking career opportunity for those with few other options for making money, especially those with criminal records for narcotics.

Another Democrat State Representative Richard Marabito said Pennsylvania has about 760,000 residents battling with addiction, but out of that number only about 52,000 are actually receiving proper treatment to help them get off drugs. According to the report only 1 out of every 8 addicts can be helped with existing state resources. So the reality is that it probably appears to the average addict that getting high is cheaper than getting help, and it will save them from persecutions.

Efforts into Actions

That same report that revealed the drug price problem inquired for a number of legislative actions, including efforts to make it easier to prosecute heroin dealers whose customers overdose and die. The report also called for a “Good Samaritan” law assuring that people who seek help for overdose victims will not face criminal charges. According to the report, putting more addicts in jail instead of making it possible for them to receive treatment without prosecution will not solve the problem. Luckily, the state has not wasted much time on putting this sort of idea into action.
Since 1990, the number of overdose deaths has consistently risen in rural areas of the state. As of 2011, the state has experienced 13 deaths per every 100,000 citizens, the Center for Rural Pennsylvania reported.

Governor Corbett recently signed a bill into law this past Tuesday September 30th that would expand the utensils available to help a person who is experiencing a heroin overdose in an effort to combat the surges in overdose related deaths in the area. This new legislation will extend availability of naloxone, a nasal spray that can reverse the effect of a heroin overdose, to make it more easily accessible to citizens.

Pennsylvania EMT’s already have naloxone on hand, but under the new law being pushed through, police would also carry the antidote drug. Naloxone would also be available for families of people at risk for an overdose, if they are able to obtain a prescription. The law is also designed to provide immunity from prosecution for people who call 911 or find other help for people overdosing, to prevent those who need the drug from avoiding treatment out of fear.

This type of study and the ensuing legislation shows more acknowledgement of addiction for the disease that it is, and for the struggles associated with the stigma of addiction. Those who suffer from heroin addiction in Pennsylvania are already getting their drugs too easy, so it brings a little more hope that the state is working to make treatment and recovery easier and more available. If you or someone you love is struggling with substance abuse or addiction, please call toll-free 1-800-951-6135. We want to help. You are not alone.

 

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