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Homedigital originalsCRISIS IN KENSINGTON: Philly volunteers knocking on doors handing out Narcan as...

CRISIS IN KENSINGTON: Philly volunteers knocking on doors handing out Narcan as overdoses reach record-high

WARNING: This story contains graphic images.

Philadelphia outreach workers are knocking on thousands of doors citywide to deliver free overdose reversal drugs and fentanyl testing strips as a new report showed fatal overdoses reached a record-high.

The Department of Public Health is partnering with Philly Counts for the door-to-door canvassing initiative providing residents with overdose prevention and treatment resources. The effort, which began this month, follows a city report published Oct. 2 that found unintentional fatal overdoses reached 1,413 deaths in 2022, an 11% increase since the previous high of 1,276 the year prior.

“Through this partnership, we can help ensure equitable access to harm reduction supplies and treatment resources in our Philadelphia communities and engage residents in becoming trusted messengers to further disseminate these tools so that we can reduce the number of overdoses,” the director of community engagement for the Office of Community Empowerment and Opportunity, Vanessa Caracoza, told Fox News in a statement. 

Drug users with flesh-eating tranq wounds

Kensington tranq users show their gruesome, flesh-eating wounds from unknowingly taking the potentially lethal substance. (Megan Myers/Fox News Digital)

The outreach workers are passing out tote bags that include the overdose reversal drug Narcan, testing strips to detect fentanyl in substances and a city resource guide, Philly Counts officials told Fox News. They’ve knocked on over 6,000 doors and have had nearly 1,000 conversations with residents since they started the initiative Oct. 6. 

“The Health Department, Opioid Response Unit, and several other City agencies and partners are working diligently to meet the challenges of this evolving crisis, and we urge every resident to understand the widespread risks and learn about the life-saving resources that are available,” Philadelphia Mayor Jim Kenney said in a press release.

“Rates of overdose have been rising steadily in Black and Hispanic communities in Philadelphia for the past few years,” Overdose Response Unit Director Noelle Foizen told Fox News in a statement. “Due to several historical factors, many people in those communities may not be willing to raise their hand as a person who uses drugs.”

Health Commissioner Dr. Cheryl Bettigole said in a press release that the drug overdose data showed the crisis wasn’t contained to Kensington. 

“The risk is not confined to those who are dependent on opioids; people who use stimulants and those who only use drugs occasionally are also dying of overdoses, most often due to opioids mixed with stimulants,” Bettigole said. “We are committed to working with partners across the city to find new strategies to meet this growing threat.”

Megan Myers is an associate producer/writer with Fox News Digital Originals. 

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