‘Fentanyl Is in Everything’: Philadelphia Says Overdose Deaths Skyrocketing

“Fentanyl is also being pressed into pills that resemble prescription opioids or benzodiazepines,” health officials said. “While fentanyl has been in Philadelphia’s heroin supply for several years, its presence in non-opioid drugs and counterfeit pills is especially concerning as individuals who prefer these drugs may have had little exposure to such a potent opioid and may be at an even greater risk for overdose.”

2020 was the deadliest year ever for overdoses in Philadelphia. The surge is being fueled by deaths among methamphetamine and PCP users.

The city’s top substance abuse official said fentanyl is now prevalent in illegal drug sales in many neighborhoods.

“Until recently…most drug sales involving fentanyl were occurring in Kensington and South Philadelphia. We focused most of our outreach efforts on a subpopulation of drug users in two specific geographic regions,” Dr. Kendra Viner, director of the Health Department’s Substance Use Prevention and Harm Reduction division said. “Now fentanyl is in everything and everyone who obtains drugs from an illicit source is potentially at risk.”

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